TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — With a little over two weeks left before the long-awaited start of their season, the Tallahassee Community College men's basketball team is putting in some serious work to live up to their preseason ranking as the number two team in the nation.
“We have a really hungry group of guys. We only have one returner from last year’s team, El Ellis, a kid that signed and committed to Louisville in the fall," said Eagles head coach Zach Settembre. "But this team is about the right things. We have a lot of guys that have approached this with the right mentality, the right mindset of I’m here to work.”
When you step foot into the gym, the first thing you’ll notice is the energy buzzing around the room. High intensity and fast paced are a few of the expectations each guy is held accountable for.
Even the fresh batch of players joining the team this year have immediately bought into the process of what it takes to be a national championship-caliber program.
“We’re in here all day every day like constantly. Zach pushes us to the limit every day," said TCC shooting guard Shawn Walker. "He doesn’t allow us to have a lack of discipline, we’ve got to be on our job every day. So I think that’s going to separate us from a lot of people.”
COVID-19 cut the Eagles 2019-2020 season short right as the national tournament was on the horizon, leaving many to wonder what could’ve been.
As the sole returning player on this year’s team, standout point guard El Ellis has used that as motivation to finish what was started.
“Most definitely unfinished business for sure. We have a really close group this year, we know winning is the main priority and we have a really great coaching staff behind us," Ellis says. "So we just want to get back to the Hutch and try to win it all.”
“The standards are very high and we’re trying to win the national championship. Every day when we come into practice we know we’re trying to play on the last day of the regular season and the last day of the postseason," added Settembre.
The Eagles tip-off their 2021 season on January 20 on the road against South Georgia Technical College.