Miles Kovarik, staff writer
Andrew Pulsifer, swimming coach, is not the only newcomer to Warren Wilson Athletics this semester. The basketball team also has new energy pumped into it because of coach Kevin Walden.
Walden was the assistant coach for St. Ambrose University’s basketball team in Davenport, Iowa. While he was coach at St. Ambrose, the basketball team made it to second place in its conference.
One major change to the Wilson team this year is the number of people on the court. The team last year consisted of seven players, and this year there are already fourteen players on the roster.
Sophomore Antonio Wilburn, a member of the team, explained that Walden knew what he was doing.
“It is different having coach Walden around,” Wilburn said. “It is different in that it is more rigorous, but not too difficult to handle.”
Wilburn added that Walden is a “grades first kind of guy.” Wilburn explained, “He is all about staying strong academically, so players can stay working harder on the court.”
“It is a tough program, in a good way, and it teaches time management,” Walden said about players’ ability to balance sports on top of the triad.
He went on to explain that students who learn the type of skills that Wilson teaches get a head start when they leave college.
Walden said some of this year’s players are returning veterans from last year, including seniors John and Chris Nelson, sophomore Aleksander Spasovski and Wilburn. One freshman who should be interesting to see play is Jermon Marsh from Sanford, NC. Walden said he was playing great in practice.
Walden’s approach to the preseason is different than seasons in previous years. The preseason program this year is to lift weights three days a week and to run two days a week.
There are also two additional coaches under Walden: Jay Lively and Brian Rannie. Lively graduated from Wilson and is a major recruiter for the College, and Rannie is whom Walden refers to as “the x’s and o’s person.” Rannie is going to help Walden teach strategies and techniques behind basketball.
Walden mentioned that he was more interested in the Wilson campus hearing about his player’s good jobs. Walden was excited that the team has been doing service together. They assisted at a race handing out water for the runners and the people involved in the race. This is along with their preseason training schedules.
If there is any hidden talent out there who wants to join the team, go and talk to Walden at the athletic center. Official practice started October 1 and the first home game is on November 7.