Thomas University basketball teams ready for return, debut - - The News for South Mississippi

Thomas University basketball teams ready for return, debut

Lady Nighthawk junior guard Miracle Watts Lady Nighthawk junior guard Miracle Watts

That once familiar sound of the bouncing ball is again echoing on the Thomas University campus.

For the first time since 2000, the Nighthawks will field a basketball team.

"Everytime I go out somewhere, out to eat or to the bank,  there's always someone asking  'Hey, when's the first game?'," says head men's coach Stephen Cox. "They're excited about basketball."
And it's not just a men's squad.

For the first time ever, Thomas will have a women's basketball team.

"We're excited," says head women's coach Coretta Brown. "We're just ready to get out there and compete."

As both teams prepare for the upcoming historic season, players will admit it's a long time coming after over a year of just practicing.

"That year and a half wait just makes me hungrier," admits junior guard Max Grace. "The excitement inside, there's just not words to describe it."

Not much is expected of either team this year. The women are picked sixth in The Sun Conference. The men: dead last.

But that's just motivating both teams.

"We know how much hard work we put in, and we just control what we can control," says forward Justyn Watkins, one of two seniors on the men's team. "We don't control votes. We don't control the other team. I've got faith in my guys and we know what we can do."

"They're expecting us to be the underdogs," says junior guard Miracle Watts. "We're just looking to upset a lot of people."

With the first tip off in 13 years taking place Sunday, the time is now is for Nighthawk and Lady Nighthawk basketball.

And the teams say don't expect them to leave anytime soon

"We're here to stay," Cox says.

The Nighthawks kick off the new era Sunday afternoon at home. They host Florida National University at 2 p.m.

The Lady Nighthawks open their season next Wednesday. Their first home game is November 12.

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