UNCW men’s basketball team ready to battle changing world

UNCW men’s basketball team ready to battle changing world

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The world has changed drastically since the last time the Seahawks played a game back in March.

COVID-19 and social justice issues are now front-page news.

First-year head coach Takayo Siddle is making sure his players understand they aren’t alone.

“Coach Siddle sat us down three weeks or a month ago and talked about everything that was going on,” said junior Jaylen Sims. “Especially with the Black Lives Matter stuff and George Floyd and things like that, of that nature. He was making sure if we needed anyone to talk to, he’s there for us.”

“I know times are crazy and they don’t know what’s going on,” added Siddle. “I just wanted them to know that I support whatever they want to do...If they want to protest; if they want to come in and talk about it; if we need to set someone up for them to talk to, just let us know because we are here for them. And we want them to feel safe and protected.”

Over the summer, sophomore guard Shykeim Phillips took part in events in his hometown of Winterville, NC.

“Back home, I protested and did a couple of marches,” said Phillips. “I was trying to state my opinion and voice my opinion.”

Players are also trying to stay safe, socially distance, and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Coach Siddle has one simple message to his players about COVID-19

“If you guys want to have a season, then you have to do all the right things,” said Siddle. “That comes on the weekends...not partying; not being around big groups of people; making sure you stay clean; making sure you wear your mask. Those are the things that I talk to them about.”

“I want to play this year,” added senior Mike Okauru. “I think all my guys want to as well. Everyone’s wearing their masks, [using] hand sanitizer and washing their hands, not going to large gatherings and I think we’re taking control of it.”

The Seahawks are scheduled to open the season on the road November 10 at Wake Forest.

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