Columbus State coaches infuse teams with local talent

Special To The Ledger-EnquirerNovember 7, 2013 

The Columbus State men's basketball team struggled when it came to rebounding last season.

How bad was it for coach Robert Moore's squad?

"Things were so rough that sometimes I thought we'd have to call a fair catch to get a rebound," Moore said Thursday night at the Lumpkin Center as a part of a dinner for Columbus State season ticket holders. "Needless to say, I went out and recruited some bigger players."

Moore's squad travels to UAB for an exhibition game tonight at 8 and opens its regular season Nov. 22 at the Lumpkin Center against Carver Bible College.

"I felt like we let a lot of people down last year," said Moore, whose team finished 13-13 last season. "We had some injuries and sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to. But this year, we want to play hard and play smart. We want to make the season tickets that people paid for a valuable ticket and these young men are going to do what they have to do to make that happen."

One of the nine new players on Moore's roster is former Northside standout R.J. Sessions. Moore said Sessions has done well so far in the preseason.

"We're glad we got him," said Moore of Sessions, who was being recruited by several Division I schools before choosing CSU. "He could've gone to a bigger school and he has that level of talent. I'll say this about him, though. He's never met a shot he didn't like."

Lady Cougars coach Jonathan Norton's team scrimmages against Valdosta State today at 2 p.m. at the Lumpkin Center and Norton said he's hoping he sees an improved performance on the defensive end of the floor after CSU gave up 81 points in its exhibition against Reinhardt last week.

"We have to get better on defense," said Norton. "But I'm extremely blessed. We have not just great players, but great young women as well. I feel like we have a brand new team. We have six returners, but we have eight newcomers and seven of those are freshmen. I told people that we had to issue diapers and nametags at the first practice."

Like the men, the Lady Cougars can count some local players among their ranks, as ex-LaGrange standout Britteny Tatum, former Pacelli players Brea Walker and Colleen Gottfried and Calvary Christian's Mary McCarty are all on CSU's roster this season.

"We're excited to have some local players on our roster," said Norton, whose team opens its regular season Nov. 15 against Fort Valley State at the Lumpkin Center at 6 p.m. "We've also recruited some more size this year, as we have two 6-foot-2 players, a 6-foot-1 player and another who's 6 feet tall. The only thing is that they're all freshmen."

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