TOWSON, Md. — If there is one thing the Towson University men’s basketball team is looking forward to this season, it’s their schedule. For no other reason than it’s normal.
"It is awesome to be back doing it the way we’re used to doing it," said head coach Pat Skerry.
COVID played havoc on the Tigers last season. They endured three separate pauses because of outbreaks. This season won’t be like that.
"You don’t have that storm cloud over you this year. So, You’re not worrying about who is going to test positive this week, how many guys are going to test positive.," said guard Nicolas Timberlake. "We know we’re not going to have a shutdown, which is awesome."
Skerry returns for his 11th season as head coach.
"We have a group that has the ability to really move the ball and make shots and if we can do those two things that would be pretty cool because we’ve had some successful groups that sometimes struggled in those areas," he said.
Skerry’s squad returns three starters, including Timberblake. The redshirt junior guard was second on the team in scoring last season averaging 12.1 points per game.
"We’re going to be a really super fast team," he said.
The Tigers also boast a nice group of incoming transfers, including a couple local guys coming home. Junior forward Chase Paar (Mt. Airy/Glenelg) joins from George Washington. He was the Colonials' starting center a year ago. Graduate guard Terry Nolan Jr. (Baltimore/Mount Carmel) bounces over from Bradley. Nolan scored 11.2 points per game last season and led the Braves with 25 steals. Now he brings that production back home.
"It’s just going to be amazing," he said. "I haven’t played here in four years. So, just finally coming back and being able to finally experience it, especially coming off of COVID year, is just amazing."
"[Nolan Jr.] is really a gifted guard. Put the ball in his hands [and] he playmakes. He guards. He makes shots," said Skerry. "He has really changed his body. For local basketball fans you are going to be really impressed how much he has grown physically. And he is an awesome kid."
Towson is picked to finish eighth in the ten team Colonial Athletic Association. That's a slap in the face to these Tigers.
"I sent it to the group chat earlier today saying, ‘Listen, we got another chip on our shoulder. It’s time to prove everybody wrong,'" said Nolan Jr.
"Used to being an underdog. So, I love it," added Timberlake.
Those underdogs open their season on November 9 with a visit to Albany.
Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook