‘We want to be men of great character’

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series in which we will highlight details learned about Longwood University’s new basketball head coaches at their joint introductory press conference held Thursday. In this part, we will focus on new Men’s Basketball Head Coach Griff Aldrich.

Griff Aldrich, Longwood University’s new men’s basketball head coach, said Thursday that he has been overwhelmed by the supportive reception that he and members of his new coaching staff have received here.

Aldrich, a 1996 Hampden-Sydney College graduate, is fresh off serving as the director of recruiting/program development for the men’s basketball team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He gave insights into his perspective on a variety of subjects Thursday, including the existing players on Longwood’s roster.

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“Coach (Jayson) Gee and his staff really did do a great job compiling a group of great young men, and it’s been a real joy for us to start to get to know them,” he said. “… I can already tell this is going to be a special group of young men, so that’s a lot of fun for me.” Aldrich said that coming second only to his family, his players “will get every waking moment of my attention.”

“Our goal here is to help them develop holistically,” he said. “We want to encourage them, we want to challenge them and, ultimately, we want to love them.” As for goals moving forward, Aldrich said that “first and foremost, we want to be a program that the university and the community can really take pride in, and that’s clearly on the court, but it’s also off the court as well. On the court we want to be a disciplined team that plays at a great pace and plays an excellent style of basketball. But off the court, we want to be men of great character …”

He said that the program’s core values will be excellence, grit, humility, gratitude and service. Recruiting will be key, he noted, and high on the list of things he and his staff will be looking for is shooters. “We’re very excited about the style that we want to implement,” he said. “… I love to play with great pace, applying pressure offensively as well as defensively. And for me, it’s a fun style. I think it’s a fun style to watch, I think it’s a beautiful way to play the game … So we will look to be aggressive offensively, but also disciplined. We will look to share the ball, be unselfish. … We’ll be a team that plays defense and understands that you’ve got to play at both ends of the court in order to win championships …”