Rattlers to host 3rd ranked Hornets

The men’s basketball team will face the No. 3 school in the MEAC, Delaware State University, Saturday. Delaware is a slow-paced team filled with enormous athletic abilities.

“Delaware is a very methodical, athletic team. They really try to keep the tempo of the game to a crawl,” Head Coach Mike Gillespie said.

“They don’t have many fast breaks, but they have great athletes who are very explosive.”

Accompanied with such talent as Terrance Hunter, a pre-season, first team, all-conference pick, and Darrin Shine, who is averaging 42 percent shooting from the field, FAMU will have to work extra hard to stop those Delaware players.

According to Gillespie, the Rattlers will have to do a very good job on those two gentlemen while also addressing the other players on the court.

“A strategy that we will have to do is attack them,” Gillespie said.

“They change defense so we can’t get confused.We have to keep things simple.”

Not only is Delaware State equipped with Hunter and Shine, the Hornets have very big, strong and well-coached players that can shoot the ball well.

“We are going to have to challenge their shooters, especially Darrin Shine, and keep him under control,” Gillespie said.

“We’ve got to make shots and we must defend. If we do that, the Rattlers have a chance to go on the road and steal a win.”

In preparation for the game against the Hornets, the Rattlers will need to continue playing as a team according to coach Gillespie.

“I think that our guys have got to realize what success we’ve had based upon sharing the basketball, rebounding and playing good team defense,” Gillespie said.

“We are going to need the same ingredients here Saturday night to be successful because Delaware is a team that plays very good defense.”

The players also have their own ways of preparation for the game against the Delaware Hornets.

“We have to contain everyone that is a threat on their team. And run our stuff and play like we do and we will win,” guard Tony Tate said.

Jonathan Kelly can also add some important elements to generate a win on Saturday.

“What is going to beat them is our rebounding, controlling the game, passing and not turning over the ball,” said Kelly, a small forward/shooting guard from Tallahassee.

Key players for this game will be: Tate, Kelly and forwards O.J. Sumter and Darius Glover.

“We need those guys (Tate, Kelly, Sumter and Glover) to continue to play at a high level,” Gillespie said.

“They must make shots, value the basketball and not turn it over. Then as (I) mentioned our bench, Brian Zamore, Mike Harper and Mike Ayodele, those guys have got to step up and give us some major contributions coming off the bench for us to be successful.”

Though Delaware State is a strong team, Tate said the Rattlers have their own powerful points.

“We can go inside and outside. We can hurt you both ways,” Tate said.

Physical practice for the game against Delaware will be no different from any other game.

“We will practice on drills, watch films, go over plays, learn their personnel (player wise) and find out everything that they do so that we will be ready to play them,” Kelly said.

Aside from the physically demanding practice schedule, the Rattlers’ traveling schedule is just as grueling.

The team held practice on Wednesday and Thursday, before heading to Dover today for Saturday’s game.

Following the game, the Rattlers will fly back Sunday in preparation for Monday nights match-up against Howard.

According to Gillespie, the two home wins against North Carolina A&T and South Carolina State has had a positive effect on the team.

“Our guys have a lot of confidence. We played solid basketball, team basketball,” Gillespie said.

“I hope those same characteristics will carry on to Saturday.”

Contact Katrelle Simmons at thefamuansports@hotmail.com