GREENSBORO, N.C. — N.C. A&T is coming off a difficult finish to last year's basketball season.
The Aggies won their first regular-season conference title in 30 years. The team finished with a 7-1 record in the MEAC.
Next season will be the first in the Big South Conference, and the Aggies had plans on competing for a conference tournament title last season. A false positive COVID-19 test ruined those plans, and the Aggies' season ended without playing a game in the MEAC tournament.
Since then, coach Will Jones has made news with the commitments from five players in the spring, joining the three fall commitments.
Next year's roster will feature four players that had four-star rankings in high school, including Duncan Powell, the 83rd-ranked player in the nation according to ESPN. According to the Aggies, Powell is the highest rated recruit in school history.
In his first full season as coach, Jones was named the MEAC Coach of the Year, and he made more headlines this offseason with the announcement of the first summer basketball camp in years.
Jones didn't know how long it has been since the program held a basketball camp but knew it was five or six years.
"It's an opportunity to be coached by someone other than your mom or your dad, to be on a college campus around college athletes and coaches," Jones said.
Through basketball, Jones hopes to have an impact on kids' lives this summer, and during the school year he hopes to impact kids in the classroom.
Jones and assistant coach Sam Hunt helped set up a mentorship program with Say Yes Guilford, a nonprofit dedicated to help high school seniors get into college.
The partnership will be beneficial for both sides, but for the kids a role model may be what they need to get that extra motivation.
"Getting the basketball players to come in and mentor these kids, you give the kids the opportunity to see somebody that looks like them," said Wendy Poteat with Say Yes Guilford.
The Aggies will begin the mentorship program this upcoming school year.