Put it in bold: the Gold Nuggets’ head coach, Bo Browder, said competing at the national level was how to define a successful season . “You can put this in the quote, I think our programs should be trying to do the same thing our tennis program is doing—competing on the national level,” Browder said.
Off-Season and Recruitment
Last season, the Gold Nuggets went 22-12 overall. They won 12 games at home, 8 games away, and 2 in a neutral arena. In their conference, they were 7-5, having 4 wins at home and 2 on the road and 3 wins at home and 3 away.
They also were Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference champions, after beating Talledega’s Lady Tornadoes 75-68. They also took a trip to the NAIA championships, but lost 75-50 in the first round to the Campbellsville Tigers.
Thr Gold Nuggets also lost six seniors, including multiple-time GCAC player of the week, Whitney Gathright. The other five were Trana Hopkins; Don’yeah Mayfield; Alesha Smith; Emoni Harvey; and Amara Person-Hampton.
This season, the Nuggets have six returning players: Mikayla Bates; Kelsey Joseph; Kelsee Singleton; Ireyon Keith; and Bianca Brown. Browder and staff had some recruiting to do.
“I’m going to grade our recruiting with a B+,” Browder said. “It went pretty good. We have eleven new players after losing six seniors—recruiting was really big.” The 11 newcomers to the team are: 5-foot-8 Aliyah Bell, a guard from Pass Christian, Miss.; 5-foot-8 Jordan Coleman, a guar from Kansas City, Mo.; 5-foot-5 Rosie Davis, a guard from Lancaster, Texas; 5-foot-8 Jalyn Hodge, a guard from Plano, Texas; 5-foot-9 Rexesha Hollis, a guard from Spring, Texas; 6-foot Dasha Pitre, a forward/center from Lake Charles, La.; 5-foot-9 Terriel Ross, a guard/forward from Baton Rouge; 6-foot-2 Angelle Simon, a center from Marrero, La.; 5-foot-11 Gina Smith, a guard from Atlanta; 5-foot-2 Maya Trench, a guard from Edgard, La.; and 5-foot-10 Essence Wells, a guard fro Irving, Texas.
The Nuggets also added assistant coach Tarniesha Scott to their staff. Scott was interim head coach at Talledega College, assistant coach at Prairie View A&M, and a volunteer assistant coach at UT Dallas, which also happened to be her alma mater. Coach Scott is just a well-rounded basketball coach,” Browder said. “She can do a variety of jobs and do it well.”
Browder, who had high praises for Scott, said she was just great overall— great at coaching, recruiting, teaching post play and more. He continued to say she had brought a lot of new things to the Nuggets’ program with her great personality and flexibility.
With all the new members on the team, Browder and staff are adjusting to managing all the different personalities.
“A major transition is trying to get our new players to understand our system—it’s a different system than where they come from,” Browder said. “More demanding on defense, more about sharing the ball, and less 1-on-1 play.” Browder is using his previous coaching experience to manage the personalities, along with Scott, and the other assistant coaches, Paige Gauthier and Jasmine Grant, who played for him. He said they have done a good job helping manage personalities.
“Now, it has been a challenge, and it hasn’t been easy,” Browder said. It’s also been an adjustment for the returning players, too, according to Browder. After last season’s seven seniors graduated, the returning players have had to take up that leadership position. “You have not been a leader these past three years, and now you’re being put in that position,” Browder said.
Before the season started, the Nuggets had “a lot” to do, according to Browder. However, the Nuggets currently sit 2-0, after beating Florida Memorial 70-57 and Webber International 76-52 at home.
Still, Browder said the team has to work on defense and being able to focus on every possession. “But that’s a challenge for every team eve4ry year,” Browder said. “It sounds easy, but it’s very hard to do. It takes a lot of concentration when you’re out on the court.” The Gold Nuggets will play at home again on Nov. 15 (Loyola), Nov. 24 (LSU-Shreveport), Nov. 25 (Langston), and Dec. 15 (Concordia).