Tigers ready for Tipoff: Hampden-Sydney players, coach honored

Published 4:02 am Thursday, March 14, 2024

It’s now down to the Final Four. And to punch their ticket to the National Championship, Hampden-Sydney players have to go through a familiar foe Thursday night. But before any of that, the Tigers have been busy, receiving awards and handing out gifts. 

The team arrived in Fort Wayne, Indiana, host city of the 2024 Final Four, on Tuesday. Then one day later, it was time for press conferences, practice, and some community service. The entire team took time on Wednesday to help their host community. They assembled 250 dental kits, which will be given to nonprofits in the Fort Wayne area for children and adults in need. As part of the project, all the Hampden-Sydney players also wrote letters of encouragement for the people who will receive those kits. 

It’s part of a requirement that officials with NCAA Division III have for teams at all of the championships, doing community service projects that benefit groups in the host city. All of the Final Four teams spent time once they arrived in Fort Wayne assembling the kits and writing notes.

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At the same time, several players and Coach Kimbrough learned of awards they had been given on Wednesday. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) named Kimbrough as its Coach of the Year for Division III’s District 6. 

Hampden-Sydney players make history 

Meanwhile, Tigers seniors Adam Brazil and Davidson Hubbard have both been chosen for the First Team All-District 6 and First Team All-Region 6. 

“It’s a testament to Hampden-Sydney’s commitment to athletic success, to the young men in this program and to Bryson Gibson and Carson Long, who make up the staff,” Kimbrough told The Herald on Wednesday. “Individual awards typically come when everyone is focused on the team’s success.” 

Both Davidson and Brazil also made a bit of history, with both earning spots on the All-America teams. Hubbard was named to the Division III All-America Second Team, while Brazil made the All-America Third Team. These are voted on by the coaches across all of NCAA Division III. So why is it history? This is the first time in Hampden-Sydney’s history that the Tigers have had two All-Americans in the same season. 

Brazil comes into Thursday’s game averaging 13.4 points, 3 rebounds and 3.8 assists. The team’s starting point guard, he is currently the Tigers’ leader in three-pointers, three-point attempts, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, assists (121) and minutes played (1027) for the year. 

Hubbard, meanwhile, goes into Thursday averaging 15.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 28.8 minutes per game. He is the team leader in points (483), scoring average, field goals, field goal attempts, rebounds (231), rebound average, offensive rebounds (63) and defensive rebounds (168) so far this year. 

Now it’s time for competition 

But now, it’s time to face a very familiar team. Several times this year, when we’ve talked with players and Coach Kimbrough about being in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), they’ve labeled it as the top conference in Division 3. Everyone says they experience so much, see so many different styles of play and types of coaching, it prepares a team to take on anybody else. Now two of the ODAC’s best will be facing off in the NCAA D3 Final Four, as the Tigers take on No. 7 Guilford College. 

It’s a bit of a revenge game for the Tigers. Why? Guilford is one of only two teams to beat them this season. Back in December, Hampden-Sydney went on the road to Greensboro and lost 80-71. Guilford is also the alma mater of Kimbrough, who played four years and then coached six years with the Quakers. All of that was under his mentor Tom Palombo, who he’ll face again in Fort Wayne. Guilford secured their own Final Four seat with a 50-48 win over No. 23 Christopher Newport on Saturday. 

Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. And for the big question, as to how you can follow along? For those who want to watch the game, you can do so here on the NCAA site. You can also listen to it here locally on WVHL 92.9 FM.