At his media availability around five o’clock this afternoon, Anthony Latina expressed his gratitude to be out on the floor playing games and practicing with all the uncertainties surrounding college basketball on a day in and day out process.
“We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity. Six months ago, this was far from a given. We’re going to be very appreciative of every opportunity we get, game or practice,” said Latina.
Oh the irony.
About two hours later, Latina’s program, along with the women’s basketball team at Sacred Heart announced that all basketball activities would stop following a positive COVID-19 test in each of their programs. This two-week shutdown will be the second one for each program since the beginning of the preseason.
The progression of news throughout the day, like many other things in the COVID-19 era, happened fluidly. Earlier in the day, it was announced that the women’s basketball team would open their season Saturday afternoon against Fairfield, a game that was originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon but was postponed following an inconclusive test within Sacred Heart’s traveling party.
Soon after that, Anthony Latina and junior guard Aaron Clarke talked to the media, discussing their recent loss to #24 Rutgers on Wednesday as well as looking ahead to their Sunday matinee against cross town rival Fairfield.
Within the coming hours, things would come to a halt, like many things have over the past eight months.
As the shutdown begins today, the earliest the teams can be released from their respective quarantines is Dec. 11. As of now, the men’s basketball team has a scheduled home game against Hartford at the Pitt Center.
The shutdown has larger complications on the women’s side. As of now, Jessica Mannetti’s group will return from the shutdown and immediately open their season in conference play against LIU on the road both Dec. 15 and 16. The shutdown also means their first two conference games against Wagner will have to be rescheduled.
For situations like this, the Northeast Conference inserted three separate weeks where rescheduled games could be played, one in December, January, and February to ensure scheduling flexibility.
If this second shutdown is any indication, those three weeks will be important as the college basketball season marches on.