by Shane Thomas
Entering his ninth season as head coach for Valdosta State basketball, Mike Helfer once again will take a new-look Blazers team into this season.
Though the Blazers will not tip off the 2013-14 campaign until mid-November, Helfer believes his team is coming together nicely in the off season.
“We have three guys that played minutes last year that are coming back,” Helfer said. “It’ll be a blend of some returners and some new guys—it’s going to be tough. We have some new teams coming into our league this year so we’re going to have to make sure we get ready here in the preseason.”
Featuring 11 new players, the Blazers finished 19-10 last season, including an improbable run to the Gulf South Conference championship game.
The Blazers came within a made Shaquille Harris three-pointer of sending the game into overtime, falling 65-62 to Christian Brothers.
“Last season was a good bounce-back from the year before,” Helfer said. “It could’ve been better—we lost three games right at the buzzer. But, I like that our guys brought back the excitement and work ethic that we were known for.”