In a recent interview, Men’s Basketball Coach Gary Bailey was asked a series of questions about GBC basketball.
Q. Your team is having one of the best years in school history. What do you think is the reason?
A. I think our talent level has been good each year and all of the teams here have been special in their own way, but this team’s chemistry is what every coach dreams of. They really like each other without on-court jealousies and they don’t worry about personal stats or playing time.
Q. Where do you think chemistry like this comes from?
A. We have worked really hard to bring in the right kids that want to stay four years and leave with a Grace degree. There are a lot of kids that can play basketball but character comes first before talent.
Q. The Team is ranked #1 in the country, has broken the school record for most wins in a season (with quite a few games left) and has some huge wins…did you expect that with this group?
A. We lost four starters and a few others from last year’s team either to graduation or injury. One player changed his major and transfered to Grand Valley State and walked on there….and one player was married and decided to finish his degree but not play ball. All of these players would be either juniors or seniors this year. I knew we had a great group coming in and a few returners that had contributed last year. I knew we would be a competitive team with the type of kids we have but you can’t really be optimistic until you see how you gel. We knew right away about our work ethic when we saw how hard they worked in the classroom.
Q. You mentioned work ethic, can you give your meaning on that?
A. This team has done a ton of community service this year. Not because I made them, but because they get it, and understand it. They recognize that they are looked up to by the community and other students. They have a great work ethic on the court because I have the whistle (laugh).
Q. Finally, your team won it all in 2006. Do you think this team has what it takes to make a deep tournament run?
A. I hope so. As well as I have seen us play this year we have to remember that we are still young. There are a number of really good and experienced teams that we have not seen this year so there is a big unknown there. Of our eight losses this year the teams were all NAIA, NCAA D-I or D-III teams with a combined record of 115-57. We feel we can play with anyone if we stay healthy. In most of our games we were fortunate to have good leads so almost everyone has played in every game so we are a very deep team. We have not been hit with the injury bug until recently. It will be interesting to see how we handle that. We’ll be ready to play. We talk about playing every game without having any regrets. If we can do that, we will be fine no matter where or when we finish. It’s only a small part of life. At GBC, we still know what our priorities are.