Continuity key for Vikings’ chances
By Matt Nestor
At most schools, a change in coaches leads to major changes in strategy and philosophy, and eventually growing pains for the new coach and team.
At Guilford, the change to new Head Coach Bobby Heisler may be a move that allows them to be one of the top surprises in the conference.
Heisler coached the sophomore team last season at Guilford, in addition to helping with the varsity team. So not only is he familiar with the few key seniors the Vikings return, but he is very comfortable with the large group of juniors his team will have this year.
“Those same juniors are players that played for me as sophomores,” Heisler said. “Things I’m going to rely on is our leadership, not only from our seniors, but those juniors as well.”
More than that, Heisler and the Vikings will rely on a strong group of seniors who played heavy minutes last year.
Quavion Kimble returns to anchor the post. Despite being undersized, Kimble’s athleticism allows him to be one of the top inside players in the conference.
The team will also be bolstered by Brandon Blankenship, one of the top returning point guards in the conference, and Eric Swangren, one of the top returning shooters.
Mix in a group of nine talented juniors, as well as a very talented sophomore in Billy Cobb, and the Vikings have all the speed and athleticism needed to scare any team in the conference.
“I want to utilize our strengths,” Heisler said. “Man for man, I think we’re one of the quickest teams in the conference. I think we can play with anyone in the conference. I think our kids believe that, too.”
Heisler also said the chemistry on this team will make his transition in the first year a smooth one. He said that this team is a very close-knit group, which should really help them out in tight games.
“That really plays into their hand,” he said. “With some teams, you have to try and work that in. With these guys, we already have that.”
More than anything, Heisler said he wants to instill discipline and consistency for his first team. He said that if they can put in good work, then the sky can be the limit.
“Traditionally, we’ve always been an up-and-down team,” he said. “I want them to play hard. I think if they play hard and invest in one another and listen to some of the things I have to say, I think we’ll be all right.”
From the Nov. 24-30, 2010 issue
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