Coach Jeremy Currier, the 2016-17 Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Coach of the Year and Southeast Regional Coach of the Year, sat down recently to answer five questions about the Falcons' upcoming move to NCAA Division III.
How has Falcons' recruiting changed since the move was announced?
Recruiting for our program hasn't changed too much. We are looking for young men who align with the mission and values of Pfeiffer University--recruits who take seriously their academic responsibilities and will take advantage of the resources available to them as Pfeiffer students. From a basketball standpoint, we want kids who love the game and will play harder than everyone else. Height and position don't matter as much as heart. Kids who love to work hard to improve and want to help build a great basketball program are a good fit for Pfeiffer.
What are your thoughts about the USA South Athletic Conference and the level of competition in the league?
Over the past month, I've spent a lot of time watching film and I can tell you I have a great deal of respect for coaching in the USA South. These teams are tough and well coached. The league, which is relatively young, will return some very good players and top performers in 2017-18. Also noticeable is the home court winning percentage. It's always hard to go on the road and beat someone on their own court but USA South teams defend home court well--very few of them lost at home last season. As the new kids on the block, we'll need to work hard to be prepared for all new opponents.
How does this move benefit Pfeiffer as a whole?
The university is already seeing short-term benefits as we anticipate the arrival of one of the largest incoming freshmen classes in Pfeiffer's history. In addition, the class is academically strong, with an average GPA of 3.52. Pfeiffer is growing and on track to continue to do so with the addition of several new academic majors that will attract students.
What do current student-athletes and coaches think about the change?
Pfeiffer has excellent and committed coaches who work hard to provide a quality experience for their student-athletes. It's something that starts at the top with high-quality leadership and direction from Athletic Director Bob Reasso and is reflected in the coaching staff for each team--and our student-athletes feel it. The result is a tremendous culture where we support one another, making Pfeiffer a special place. Pfeiffer can put together a home court/field atmosphere for a big game like no place else. The pride that is evident in Falcon athletics has very little to do with the league in which we compete; it's all about the administrators, coaches and student-athletes who make up the department. Over the past four years, the retention rate for student-athletes has improved steadily and is currently approaching 80 percent, which is a testament to the culture created by the entire Pfeiffer community.
How will the move to Division III affect your style of play?
The changes in our roster will impact our style of play more than the level at which we play. We are graduating 6,175 points and a group of guys who have been together for three to five years. The coaching staff and returning players have our work cut out for us in terms of sustaining the accomplishments of the class of 2017. We'll see a lot of new faces and we'll play to the strengths of the group. With a high-scoring class graduating, we may need to be more aggressive defensively and with rebounding.