Trojans show early TAAC
Published 12:00 am Friday, January 7, 2000
dominance with 3-0 record
By STEVEN G. WATSON
It’s the first time this has happened and the Troy State Trojans couldn’t be happier about it.
No, it hasn’t got anything to do with the new year, TSU’s 3-0 start in the Trans America Athletic Conference is their best-ever start since entering the conference. Saturday they have a chance to make it 4-0 against Mercer.
Troy State is at the top of the TAAC standings and every game they take the court together the Trojans are playing more and more like a team.
Granted, they’re only 7-5 overall, but it could have just as easily been a healthy 10-2 if it weren’t for three heart-breaking last second shots that led to one-point losses in the early going. Not only that, but when compared to last year’s 3-8 record at this time last year the Trojans are still sitting pretty.
Even with the close losses TSU has emerged in the early going as a team to contend with in the TAAC.
"We had no preconceived notions of success or failure when we started the year," TSU head coach Don Maestri said. "We really didn’t know one way or the other how this team would pan out. It was really a matter of playing and seeing how we all worked together."
Now that the ball is rolling for the Trojans, Maestri and his squad hope to muster some support from the community and student body in helping to continue their success. That all starts with Mercer Saturday night.
"We hope we can get a decent crowd at the game come Saturday," Maestri said. "You want a good crowd to help motivate these guys to another win.
"The past few years I know it’s been hard to support us since we’ve been losing, but they don’t realize how much of a difference they can make for us," he continued. "As people come to TAAC games they will find out and learn to expect two very talented teams battle on the court. The fact we’re 3-0 in such a talented conference, now we need a crowd to keep us in the race."
When asked if his team was feeling the pressure their early success has brought, Maestri said there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about it. His team is focused on their goals and playing one game at a time.
"We really haven’t preached that to them that much," Maestri said. "When you get into this position every game turns into a very important game for us. I think they know what position they are in and how important it is to remain focused and concentrate on the job at hand.
"Our practices this year have been very focused, more than teams in the past," he continued. "The whole team is very strong emotionally. We’ve been through some heartbreaking losses and even some big wins. This team doesn’t get to high when they win or to low when they lose."
A lot of that attitude and focus Maestri credits to the Trojans’ star point guard Detric Golden. He says the addition of the Memphis transfer who leads the TAAC in scoring with 17.3 points per game has helped his team show a lot of poise in the early going.
"He’s very stoic in many ways and he has set the tone for our kids as far as the level of emotion they show on and off the court," he said. "He’s not to up and down and knows how to handle most every situation."
Saturday the Trojans will face a Mercer team not having as much success finding itself. Maestri said they are a lot like TSU in that they have numerous new faces. Mercer is 4-11 overall and 1-2 in TAAC play in the early going and just dropped a 93-77 decision to Central Florida Wednesday who TSU beat 74-73 on Dec. 30.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Trojan Arena. All the action can be heard locally on 100.3 FM.