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Men’s basketball builds on hot start to season

December 10, 2021

After their win over Husson University on Wednesday, Bowdoin’s men’s basketball team has launched into their season with a 7-2 start. The team looks vastly different from a year and a half ago with the entrance of new head coach Alex Lloyd and two new talented classes to go alongside the already proven upperclassmen.

Before coming to Bowdoin, Coach Lloyd spent time with the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Texas A&M and, most recently, the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant for their team in the G-League (the NBA’s official minor league). According to the Bowdoin players, his experience has garnered results.

“[His arrival] started with a new culture,” Taiga Kagitomi ’22 said. “This year everyone’s a lot more dedicated and hardworking toward basketball.”

Forward Afamdi Achufusi ’25 commented on the balance that Coach Lloyd strikes between competing hard while maintaining the joy of the game.

“While he does want it to remain competitive . . . he also makes sure that we enjoy the moment—enjoy being around each other and being able to play every day,” Achufusi said.

Kagitomi seconded Achufusi’s assessment.

“[Under Coach Lloyd] practices are more structured so that, one, players enjoy practice while we’re doing it, and two, it serves a real purpose,” Kagitomi said.

In an email to the Orient, Coach Lloyd explained that the new system he introduced is crucial in building a culture that will help the team succeed.

“My hope is that our work is continuing to develop, or enhance, a culture that is committed to competing, hard work, strong relationships and growth.”

The impact of the arrival of two new classes also cannot be understated, with two first years and a sophomore starting for the team. First-year players James McGowan ’25, Javy Atcitty ’25,  Cole Hanin ’25 and Achufusi have brought additional scoring power, play making and physicality to the already adept line-up.

“They’re all very skilled, they have very high basketball IQ, they have a good feel for the game,” Kagitomi said. “[They] are really disciplined and hardworking and love the game of basketball. As a leader, that has made my job very easy.”

Of course, the ability of the younger players in no way detracts from the leadership and talent of upperclassmen like Kagitomi, who put up 19 points and 7 rebounds in the team’s most recent win.

As one of four seniors on the team, Kagitomi also has perspective on how Bowdoin basketball has changed since their last season before the pandemic. He commented that the team is taking competition more seriously now.

“We care a lot more and every win matters to us more . . . there’s just a lot more passion and energy in the locker room and on the court,” Kagitomi said.

Moving forward, the players have their eyes set on the NESCAC tournament. “We want to make the NESCAC playoffs, make a run. Obviously the goal is always to win that championship. I think we can do it,” said Achufusi.

With their promising start, Bowdoin men’s basketball is a team to keep an eye on. They will  compete against Bates this Saturday in Lewiston.

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