Whitman men’s basketball welcomes new changes

Tate Cadang, Staff Reporter

The Whitman basketball team has welcomed new head coach, Coach John Lamanna who is excited to take the helm and get on the court with his new team.

Lamanna brings a lot of experience and a history of success to the role which he hopes to put into play when the team eventually meets in person. He does not, however, plan on making any major changes to the system itself.

“My previous experience will bring a slightly different offensive and defensive look,” Lamanna said. “But the system we will run will be equally as exciting and entertaining.”

Senior Carlos Angel says that, despite the difficulty of change, a new coach can and will be beneficial for the team as a whole and as individual players.

“It’s exciting to look forward to a new experience,” Angel said. “The basketball [and] personal background Coach Lamanna has to offer is something we’re all looking forward to.”

The basketball team has been keeping in touch with each other via virtual meetings on Zoom and phone calls. Despite the new ways of communication, Coach Lamanna strives to take advantage of the time that they virtually spend together.

For returning players such as Angel, communication with the newcomers are key to gelling as a team off-campus. Coach Lamanna has emphasized the importance of team-building during this unusual time and has been impressed with how quickly the returning players have engaged the first-year students in the team.

Mamane Yaou, a first-year student, is testament to the overcoming of communication barriers brought about by this year.

“I’m connecting with a couple of my teammates that lived here in Walla Walla and been on Zoom calls with my other teammates outside Walla Walla every week,” Yaou said. “My transition here has been easy because of the help the school put in place for us students.”

Despite being away from campus and a team dynamic, Coach Lamanna expects the team to play to their full potential when they get back on the court. This has put additional pressure on Coach Lamanna who is ready to take it head on.

“A coach can choose to allow external pressure to dictate their decisions or their focus can remain with how the current group of students grow into the best team it is capable of,” Coach Lamanna said.

Pressure is something that Coach Lamanna has become accustomed to and the way he deals with it can add to his credibility as a coach.

A big part of the men’s basketball program is the support from the Whitman and the Walla Walla community. Coach Lamanna promises that men’s basketball fans have something to be excited about.

“I don’t just hope to only experience the best home court, but I look forward to getting to personally know each of our committed fans,” he said. “I definitely am grateful for the support!”