Last season North Carolina A&T (A&T) finished with just three wins. With three wins already in the first week of the season, the Aggies are thinking about building something bigger.
“Everybody, so for, has bought into the team concept and not just ‘I,'” A&T head coach Jay Joyner told me after the Aggies 90-82 win over the Jacksonville Dolphins on Saturday. “We’re just going to try to keep this thing going.”
After graduating six players off of the 2016-2017 club, A&T head coach Jay Joyner says that he has a brand new club.
“Anytime you graduate that many seniors you have to revamp your roster,” Joyner said.
The revamp started with infusing new talent into the program. That talent is led by junior forward Femi Olujobi. Through four games, the transfer from Oakland University is averaging 30 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He is producing at a high level and opponents are taking notice.
“He’s a great player. I have to give him his props,” Jacksonville senior guard Devin Harris said. “He shot great from the field so anybody who shoots great like that I have to give them their props any day of the week.”
Another newcomer that’s been vital to the Aggies’ success is freshman point guard Kameron Langley. The young floor general is averaging over 5.5 assists per game and made several key plays down the stretch in the win over Jacksonville. He’s a player Joyner worked hard to get and is happy to have.
“I recruited Kam Langley almost like I recruited my wife way-back-when,” Joyner joked. “He really has the chance to be that good. He’s not playing like a freshman. He’s just playing basketball.”
Perhaps the most critical adjustment Joyner had to make was to himself. After his first full season as the head coach, he said he had to do some soul searching to figure out his approach to leading young men.
“I sensed there was a disconnect last year,” Joyner said. “The staff and I spent a lot of time just talking to the players and really getting to know them outside of basketball.”
That extra effort will continue to be tested as the Aggies still have games at East Carolina, Georgetown and Virginia Tech before conference play starts. Despite those impending challenges, the Aggies seem much more prepared to deal with them.
“We’re just focusing on tomorrow,” said Joyner. “If you do that you don’t want to get too high or too low. We’re really trying to keep this team steady.”