Men’s basketball to face Rutgers in season opener

The men’s basketball team is looking to start the season off right after only earning eight victories last season.

The Rattlers will tip off against the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights on Friday at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday at 1 p.m., the team will face the Princeton University Tigers.

Florida A&M head coach Clemon Johnson is confident in his team’s ability. He said the Rattlers can beat any team in the country.

Johnson spoke highly of his team’s offense. He emphasized the importance of being aggressive and reminded his players to believe in the system.

“Yes, we can win,” Johnson said. “We just have to play close to a perfect game,” which he describes as a game with less than five turnovers, rebounding well, shooting better than 40 percent and making threes.

“The biggest thing will be our defensive game,” Johnson said. “We have to stop their offense.” 

He also spoke on the importance of leadership. The Rattlers have seven returning seniors who will use their experience to guide the younger players through the season.

Jamari Bradshaw, a senior forward who averaged 9.2 points last season, is looking forward to start the season and is eager to see how his team measures up against a big school.

“It’s a wonderful experience to play a bigger conference,” Bradshaw said. “Our focus is to play defense and show them that we can compete with anybody.”

Bradshaw said these games are a learning experience, and if they can win it will set the tone for the rest of the season.

Trey Kellum, a sophomore guard who averaged 4.4 rebounds last season, said he views the game as an opportunity to play better competition.

“It’s good to be the underdog,” Kellum said. “It causes you to play harder and smarter. I think we can win if everyone does his job.”