Old and new mesh
Matthews’ performance had Jones excited. He transferred to NSU over the summer, but the staff wasn’t sure if he’d be able to play to start the season. The Richmond, VA native received a waiver from the NCAA just over a week ago.
“We recruited him here to do exactly that, to be a double-double guy. Now whether he’s gonna get 18 and 11, that’s to be determined,” Jones said. “But we did recruit him to be a double-double guy, and to see him come out and get a double-double right away makes us look good in recruiting, I guess.”
Carter is one of the holdovers from last season’s team. Jones admitted that sometimes he isn’t happy with the senior’s shot selection. That usually means too many long-range shots, but that’s not the case here.
“His jump shot has gotten a lot better, and he’s still kind of just being a slasher, but he actually really can shoot the three now,” Jones said. “I think sometimes he forgets that, that he’s improved his jumpsuit a lot. He did have a couple of out-of-control drives, but he was our Swiss Army knife.”
COVID-19 forcing teams to play Norfolk State
Besides starting the season 1-0, the win was major not only for Jones and NSU, but the MEAC as well. Jones said he got several texts from coaches in the conference following the win.
“It’s really a win for all of us. We’re all trying to prove ourselves in a way that the MEAC is a very good conference and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves,” he said. “Every non-conference win we can get will start helping us get that recognition.”
For comparison, Norfolk State didn’t get its first Division I win last year until late December.
It was also a statement win for NSU. The program has a Virginia-centric non-conference schedule this year due to COVID-19. Saturday NSU will play Radford. Dec. 2, Old Dominion comes to NSU. Then there’s long-time rival Hampton in the Battle of The Bay. And finally William and Mary on December 9.
“Old Dominion, coming to us next week — we haven’t played them at Echols in 52 years. William and Mary, we only played three-times ever. Never in Echols. Radford we’ve only played a couple times,” Jones said. “It’s like the COVID is forcing teams that normally wouldn’t play us to play us and hopefully we can take advantage of it.”
NSU already has one in the bag at JMU, who opened up its new, $88 million dollar arena on Thursday with a loss to the Green and Gold.