Basketball players have to be dedicated to the team, the game and the school. Being part of the team means staying one week longer into the holiday break and returning sooner than the rest of the Corps of Cadets. The dedication has paid off as the team has begun the season with a better record than last year.
Their dedication paid off with two home victories surpassing the win total from last year. The challenge increases during January with as many as two games per week. “I am so proud of these guys,” said Tim Smallwood, team coach. “They come out every day and work as hard in practice as they do in the games, and the effort is making a difference.”
Mr. Smallwood says every player does his part and makes solid contributions. Some notables include Eluziyah Pierre who, Smallwood says, has shown how hard he worked during the off-season and is a much-improved player from last year. Another starter, Zion Mills, continues to be a major contributor as a defensive specialist and excellent rebounder.
New to the starting five is outstanding Freshman Lukas Clayton who gives a much-needed inside presence along with Jessaihya Shadari who is the anchor to the defense leading the team in blocks and rebounds. The leading scorer is Steven Hill who had a career-high 37 points against Renaissance Charter. Smallwood calls him a tremendous leader on and off the floor.
Mr. Smallwood has been a coach of the basketball team since 2019. He credits the work of the team and the leadership by assistant coach Aaron Barkley. Mr. Barkley and Mr. Smallwood have coached together since 2019. “Coach Barkley has solidified our defense and his dedication to the team is second to none,” said Mr. Smallwood.
Practice continues daily and Mr. Smallwood sees improvement each day. “I know that VFMA is earning the reputation of a very scary team to play.” Good luck to the basketball team for a winning season.