It was the first-ever signing day for the Chargers, who introduced nine of their 11 inaugural team members that will comprise this year’s team.
For Gaffney, the day represented a big milestone in the building of his program, and demonstrated that his hard work in the past few months paid off.
Gaffney said he is glad to have this first recruiting class in the books.
“It feels great,” said Gaffney. “Not only do we have a good group of kids, but they’re pretty good students athletes, and they’re real good players.
“That’s what we’re trying to do here: Get good kids who are good students and athletes, and that will be real good in the community on campus and in Floyd County,” added Gaffney.
Most members of the inaugural class are from Georgia, with one very familiar face being a member of the team. Greater Rome will be represented by former Armuchee star Matt Catanzano who was one of the many players in attendance to sign his letter.
“I’m excited about everything and this feels great,” said Catanzano. “It’s very special to be apart of the start of a new program with a new coach with a good reputation.”
Catanzano has showed off his talent and athleticism over his career at Armuchee, where he was selected to numerous RN-T All Area and all region teams. The sharp-shooting Catanzano owns the career record for 3-pointers (210), and most 3’s in a season (85). This past season, Catanzano averaged 22 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Catanzano said choosing GHC just seemed like the perfect fit for him.
“It was a good deal for me and it wasn’t far away from home, but far enough away,” said Catanzano. “Hopefully this will help me as a player, and maybe help me later continue playing at a bigger school.”
After signing their letters of intent, the new Chargers got the chance to shoot around in the GHC gym, which has undergone a makeover in recent days.
Some of the features of the new gym include new bleachers, freshly painted walls, and a brand new court design.
“It’s phenomenal (the gym),” said Gaffney. “They’ve really upgraded the gym, with the redoing of the floor with our logo, the new bleachers are great, and the white paint really brightens it up quiet a bit.”
With the signings and most of the gym renovations checked off the list, it won’t be long until school is back in session and workouts can begin. Shortly thereafter, the first season will be tipping off.
“In junior college, we’re allowed to start really the first day of school,” said Gaffney. “It will be a very limited amount of time for practice, but we’ll actually start practicing the first day of school and get them acclimated with the program.
“Our problem is we have all freshman, so none of them know anything about what’s going on, and that’s not a very good recipe for winning basketball games. And the other is that we’re playing seven teams that made the Sweet 16 last year.”
The Chargers’ first season will definitely be a learning experience, and a tough schedule will certainly add to that.
“Our non-conference schedule will be as good as anybody in the country,” said Gaffney. “You probably shouldn’t be scheduling that tough of a schedule when you have nothing but freshman, but we’re kind of excited because if you beat a nationally-ranked team, everybody will know who you are.
“Nobody in Ohio, Texas, or Florida knows who Georgia Highlands is, but hopefully by the end of the season they will. And my philosophy is the better teams you play, the better you’ll get.”