Often times, it seems that most folks don’t truly understand the challenges and difficulties of recruiting players at the Division III level. Coaches can be the first to recruit a kid and establish a quality relationship, and will still lose out to Division II (or even JUCO) programs in 99% of situations. It’s an absolute bloodbath, and that notion rings especially true for Bridgewater College—who has been in the bottom half of the ODAC throughout the last decade. In addition to struggling within their conference, the Eagles have only posted one winning record since 2009-10. Why is this seemingly negative information relevant? Well, because Steve Enright took over as head coach last season and has already started to shift the dynamic of this program.
Despite various impressive flashes, Enright led the Eagles to a 9-17 record in his first full season at the helm. There were still some struggles (as nearly every coach faces in their first year), making it clear that drastic changes would be needed to turn things around over the immediate future. Well, Andy Pack deciding to transfer from Elon to Bridgewater was the first domino. Some might forget, but Pack was arguably Northern Guilford’s best basketball player throughout their history. He was an incredible high school talent who rapidly trended upward until suffering a torn ACL during a playoff run in his junior season. Pack ultimately went to Elon and found solid success, but looks more than likely to return to his dominance on the hardwood as an Eagle. It would be surprising if Pack didn’t shine as a leader with this new group.
That being said, the addition of Dylan Blake should only continue to make this program more and more successful. Like Pack, there are so many people who never realized how unbelievable Blake was in high school. He might not possess elite size or athleticism, but his style and approach are similar to that of Trae Young—featuring nonstop pressure as a three-point shooter with range, vision, and effortless creation skills. Blake was given the ultimate green light and led First Flight to their best stretch in school history as a direct result. Though his expected minutes are unclear, there’s nothing preventing him from being one of the top players on this entire roster. Add in a quality freshman class, headlined by Alec Topper, and it’s easy to see a path to newfound success.