Rattlers basketball teams make media day their showcase

By James Thomas
Outlook Writer

Not a single fan was there. That didn’t bother the FAMU men’s and women’s basketball teams. They came to meet the media.

The teams were set up in the Lawson Center last Thursday specifically to meet the occasion.

The lights were bright inside the empty gymnasium. The Rattlers took the occasion to make it their persona showcase – although it wasn’t all about talking basketball with reporters.

Photo ops were plentiful as the players kept it light for the photographer with moves such as the behind-the-back passes and dribbling in between. They seemed comfortable in the setting.

The women’s team was first to hit the floor, as they are looking to have a winning season under first-year head coach Kevin Lynum.

Both coach Kevin Lynum (left) and Robert McCullum have high hopes for the women’s basketball teams this season.
Photos by James Thomas

Robert McCullum have high hopes for the men’s basketball teams this season.
Photos by James Thomas

“The goal this year is to compete and win,” Lynum said. “We’re in a tough division but we are ready.”

The women’s team is comprised of five freshman, four sophomores, two juniors and three grad students. Morgan Mitchel is one of the two juniors on the roster.

Mitchel has already been thrust into a leadership role that she is embracing.

“Coach tells us that we are family,” she said. “As long as we look at each other as family we’ll have a good season.”

Freshman Caylen Jones, a Tallahassee native, said it’s an amazing feeling playing for the school close to where she grew up. Just a year ago, Jones was playing at North Florida Christian School.

The FAMU women have a tough schedule with SEC opponents on the schedule; just ahead of getting into MEAC play. They go on the road on Nov. 5 to take on USC Upstate to kick off the season.

The men’s team wrapped up the Q and A with the media. The team is battle several pre-season injuries, but expectations remain high, according to assistant coach Jarret Stephens.

“We lost some key guys last year, but we have a good group coming back,” Stephens said, “Guys like our point guard Kameron Reeves will put us in a good place this year.”

Sophomore guard MJ Randolph was the rookie of the year in the MEAC this past season and he is preseason third team all-conference this year.

With as many as half of his players battling injuries, Coach Robert McCullum is finding it a struggle to get a gauge on his team in preparation for the season.

“It has been a fun preseason yet a challenging one,” McCullum said. “From the standpoint of 11 scholarship guys, we’ve only had six healthy bodies for all but three days.”

The Rattlers will play one of their early money games on Nov. 5 against USC Trojans.