‘Take it one day at a time’: Alex Elliott focuses on teambuilding

Published 12:14 am Saturday, February 17, 2024

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It was about eighth grade when he made up his mind. Before that, Alex Elliott had been a two-sport player, competing in baseball and basketball. But his family connections to the sport and general style of how it’s played made basketball the winner. That season, Elliott gave up travel baseball, in order to focus on developing his skills on the court. So far, it’s pretty clear that’s working. 

The 6’4” guard from Marietta, Georgia is now a senior leader on a Hampden-Sydney squad that’s one of the best in the country. The team headed into Wednesday night’s game against Virginia Wesleyan ranked No. 2 in the county for NCAA Division III. They’re 21-2 overall, 13-2 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play. That’s a far cry from when Elliott first stepped on a Hampden-Sydney court. He’s seen the team grow and develop through all of that, arriving at where they are now. 

“It’s been a lot of highs and lows, but you’ve got to put trust in each other,” Elliott said. “We just take it one day at a time. The eight or nine guys who are upperclassmen, it’s been great to see that work year over year pay off.” 

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And Elliott’s been linked with Hampden-Sydney College now for more than half a decade, four as a student and two while being recruited. If there’s one thing the school and his team symbolize, Elliott said it’s home. 

“It’s just been like home for me here,” Elliott said. “When I first came on my visit. I really fell in love with it. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve been blessed to work with this team.” 

Defining a style of play 

Alex Elliott is the son of Linton and Hart Elliott. His father played at Davidson College, his grandfather played football and competed in track and field at Georgia Tech, and the rest of his family competes in athletics as well. So sports in many ways is a bonding experience, something to come together over and talk about. 

But for Elliott, basketball is what won him over. 

“With basketball, it’s a fast-paced game,” Elliott said. “You can play on both sides.” 

While he’s a fan of Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokic, Elliott can’t quite pick a player to compare his own style of play to. 

“I could say my style is a bit unique,” Elliott said. “I’m the guy who’s gonna go out there and play as hard as he can, doing whatever it takes for the team to win. Defensively, I’m getting the rebounds. Offensively, I’m crashing the glass for a rebound or looking for a teammate to make the right play to.” 

That’s who he respects in any basketball game, the player who just leaves everything out on the court. And that’s what he sees in his teammates, a group that’s not content being No. 2 in the country. To be honest, they weren’t content being No. 1, because the season isn’t over yet. 

Elliott says the way last year ended, it served as an extra motivator. 

“We lost on home court, lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in front of our fans,” Elliott said. “It leaves a bad taste. It gives us motivation, because we’re done with that. We want to go farther, we want to keep going, first in the regular season and then in the tournament.” 

But to do that, it takes patience, Elliott said. It takes effort. And it means that the team just has to take it all one day at a time. 

Next for Alex Elliott, Tigers 

This Saturday is Senior Day for Hampden-Sydney. They’ll take on Mary Washington at Kirby Field House, with tipoff set for 2 p.m. And time set aside to honor each of this year’s senior class.