The Samford Men’s and Women’s basketball teams are less than two weeks away from their opening games. Both teams have been preparing inside of Pete Hanna – roughing out the edges ahead of a likely very unusual season of basketball.
The Men’s team is set to have their first regular season game on Nov. 29 against Alabama A&M at home. The Women’s team will have their first game on Nov. 28 against Auburn on the road.
Both teams have been attempting to gel together as a unit before the beginning of their COVID-19 adjusted schedule.
“We’ve gotten better and become more of a team,” Men’s head coach Bucky McMillan said in an interview with Samford Sports. “When it’s a bunch of new guys, we want to see exactly that. It’s a weird year, and we’re going to have guys out. So you have got to really focus on what you have, and everyday you can’t take it for granted that you’re going to be there next week.”
This will be McMillan’s first year with the Bulldogs after coaching Mountain Brook High School for 12 seasons. McMillan replaces Scott Padgett, who was the head coach for the Bulldogs for six seasons.
Last season, the Bulldogs finished with a disappointing 10-23 overall record. It was the second time in the past three seasons that the Bulldogs finished with only 10 wins.
As for the women’s team, head coach Carley Kuhns is preparing for her second season with the Bulldogs. Her first season ended with a SoCon Tournament Championship, which would have given the Bulldogs entry to the 2020 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA, however, cancelled the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I do think our season being cut short left a sour taste in our mouth,” Kuhns said. “But it has only motivated us to get to a point to put ourselves in a position to have a chance to go to the NCAA tournament again.”
Kuhns has been pleased with her team’s progress during the first few weeks of practice. The team features six new players, and their roles within the team are currently being established in practice.
“The thing that stands out the most is our willingness to compete with each other in every drill,” Kuhns said. “With so many new faces, we are already gelling and getting a great feel for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Neither Samford Athletics nor the Southern Conference has released any information on stadium capacities for the 2020-2021 seasons. More information on the Men’s and Women’s basketball seasons can be found on www.samfordsports.com.