Q&A with UNCW MBB’s Takayo Siddle

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON – UNCW men’s basketball Head Coach Takayo Siddle sat down with media members on Nov.19 for a Q&A just five days before their first game of the season against Western Carolina. Throughout the interview, Siddle discussed the team’s attitude, excitement and preparations for the upcoming season. Below are highlights from Thursday’s discussion with Coach Siddle:

Q: Is there a game on the schedule that sticks out to you?

A: “The game in front of us…we are really looking forward to playing Western Carolina and that’s all we are focusing on right now.”


Q: What is the biggest change that you implemented when you became head coach?

A: Just the mentality change, the approach to everyday…punching the clock every single day, and I think the guys are really starting to buy into that.


Q: How different will it be with no fans in the stands?

A: We talked about it yesterday for the first time…I compared it to sparring in boxing. We talked about creating our own energy and not worrying about who is there and who isn’t, just going out and playing with passion is the most important thing to us…we would all love to have fans in the stands especially our guys, but right now I think right now we are just looking forward to competing against another team.


Q: Have you talked to the players about the importance of staying safe from COVID-19?

A: That’s something that we always talk about, we talk about that daily. The simple message to them is that if you want to have a season and play games then you have to do the right things…I think they are all holding each other accountable.


Q: What is one thing that you have been most surprised with this group?

A: I’ve been pleasantly surprised with their effort on a daily basis…I challenge them a lot and every day they come in and punch the clock for me.


Q: Has any player stood out to you?

A: I would say I expected Jake Boggs to be better in my system, but he is extremely talented and has a chance to be special if he continues to work.


Q: What makes Jake Boggs so talented in your system?

A: He can do a little bit of everything…when you add the fact that he’s 6’9 and can do a little bit of everything, I think that’s what makes him special.


Q: Is there anything that you have been disappointed with?

A: No, not at all.


Q: What’s the biggest area of weakness that you feel like you need to get better as a team?

A: Taking care of the basketball has been eye popping to me…I know we play a pressing style, but I think when I look back at last year’s games, that’s an area that we have to continue to improve in.


Q: What’s the message for the guys heading into Thanksgiving?

A: When you look at everything that is going on, if you would have asked us a month ago, I don’t know if we felt too comfortable about playing games…being able to play, being thankful for your family, being healthy…those things this year are special.


Q: Have you thought about a starting five?

A: I have not, it could change from day-to-day. I think that’s the beauty of what we are dealing with right now, I think that brings the competitiveness out of the whole group…I tell them every day that I don’t have a starting lineup. If you want to be a starter then you have to go out there and earn it.


Siddle closed the interview talking about his expectations heading into the new season. “I need to see improvements in the areas that we need to improve in…that’s how I will judge my expectations,” said Siddle.

The Seahawks are coming off a 10-22 record last season, and hope to get off to a good start when they faceoff against Western Carolina on Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. in Asheville, North Carolina.