With your CCBC Dundalk Lions starting out 7-0 I sat down with Coach Taylor to talk about the team and their start. 7-0 ties the best win streak under Coach Taylor. The last time the Lions won 7 straight was in the 13-14 season under Coach Taylor.
What's different about this team? Where's the success coming from?
"I think we have usually had success here when we have had strong point guard play. Malik McCormick has been a pleasant surprise offensively. The kid is a dawg defensively which I knew, and can shoot the ball which I knew as well but has transitioned to the point guard position quicker than I had envisioned, in high school he mostly played off the ball in a scoring role. He is a gym rat that loves to compete and has a high drive to get better."
Who are the leaders on the team?
"In regards to leaders we have several guys that fill that role for us. Malik is one for sure with his intensity and winning ways (2x State Champion at Dunbar High School) and two returners have been big for us in different ways. Mohamed Bundu has been a positive influence on the newcomers, we as coaches can really get after him and he responds with a smile or an honest question on how/what he needs to do to be better in that same situation next time. He has been big with helping the freshman bigs Noel Hilton and Donnell Loud adjust to college basketball. Tyshaun Walker has that competitive edge you look for when coaching JUCO players, he thrives off of what people tell him he can't do and works hard to prove them wrong. Sometimes we have to pull him back to keep him focused but I much rather have to do that then to have to get a student-athlete excited and enthused to play a game that they claim to love."
All three players are averaging 30 minutes and at least 15 points.
How far do you think this team can go?
"This team is better than any team we have had offensively in my seven years at Dundalk, more than half our roster is capable of scoring 20 points on any given night. With that being said we won't reach our potential unless we commit to playing defense on a consistent basis. If we can get our defense to match our offense than we won't have any limitations on how much success we can obtain this season. I don't think we are that far away but us coaches have to continue to work to get our guys to understand the importance of defense. Obviously they all love to play offense but we need them to enjoy or at least like to play defense. That's where our teams my first and second years here stood out."
The Lions win streak was arguably ended but brought back to life. The Lions lost 98-95 against Potomac State but Potomac played with ineligible players causing the forfeit. I asked Coach Taylor how he viewed the winning streak.
"In regards to the forfeit win vs Potomac State, I just told the guys last night I am not giving the win back to Potomac state but I was also in the gym on the 15th with our guys and when the final horn sounded we had less points than they did. So that should motivate us going forward. Hopefully we will have a chance to play them again in March and settle it on the court. As a former player and current coach I love those types of games with two high level teams leaving it all on the floor and that's what we had on the 15th and that's what I will expect in March if that matchup occurs again."
Regardless of 7-0 vs 6-1, Potomac State is considered one of the top Division II teams in the nation and to lose by three when they have ineligible players makes a case for the Lions might have won out right. Like Coach Taylor said we'll have to see if we cross paths again in March.