By Helen Contreras
Passion, sweat, and an orange ball are just a few things that have strengthened the bond between the NDMU basketball team and Tom Gizzi, their head coach. As the conference begins, Coach Gizzi and the team are preparing themselves to make this season theirs.
With this being his second year at Notre Dame of Maryland University, Coach Gizzi has prepared goals—not just for the conference, but also for the team and Music City Classic, a tournament in Nashville, Tennessee that invites basketball teams of the top three divisions. “I want to build a positive culture based on character, team competency, and compete at the highest level,” he explains. “Our CSAC appearance last year was the best year for the NDMU Gators. We want to continue to build off of that.”
Coach Gizzi’s optimism rings throughout the whole team. Justice Walrath, a junior double major in physics and math, states, “My goal is to beat all the teams that we lost last season by six points or more.” Ashley Guy, a senior biology major, had similar goals. “I want us to improve our record, win the championship, and become number one in the playoffs,” she says. Meanwhile, Dania Taylor, a senior business major expresses, “I want NDMU to be a fierce competitor in the tournament. I hope we can win the whole thing!”
CSAC playoffs are not the only thing on the basketball team’s mind. After Christmas, the Gators will be participating in the Music City Classic, which they were invited to participate in this year. NDMU’s basketball team appearance will provide exposure for them and NDMU to other universities and fanatics.
With many opportunities for the team coming up, the team and Coach Gizzi can develop a strong bond. Taylor Epps, a freshman business major, hopes that she can have a closer relationship with the team. “The team is very welcoming and I am glad I am part of it,” she says. Similarly, Keyeria Dawson, a freshman undeclared major, states “I feel like I belong with this team because everyone plays a role and has an impact.”
No matter the results of this season, Coach Gizzi strives for the team to continue to “build a culture based off of chemistry, confidence, and competency in and out of the court.” Support the Gators this season by attending their games and aiding with their fundraising efforts for Music City Classic.
PC: Helen Contreras