After making the announcement official this morning, Fordham University ushered in the Kyle Neptune Era of Rams Men’s Basketball with an introductory meet and greet. In this event livestreamed on YouTube, Neptune outlined his plans to bring Fordham Men’s Basketball back into the national spotlight. Following this introductory conference, I was able to talk to Coach Neptune one-on-one to get a better insight into his vision for Fordham Basketball.
A New York Native himself, Neptune said his biggest focus was building a basketball culture at Fordham that is strongly intertwined with the city. By doing this, Fordham will be able to attract alumni, current students, and the surrounding New York community to get behind the Rams.
“New York in general is just a place I’m very proud of, being from here, playing here, and now coaching here,” Neptune said. “I root for all New York teams, I’m a New York guy. New York City basketball is important to me, and I hope this team is something we can make New Yorkers proud of.”
In his online meet and greet, Neptune expressed a strong interest to regularly schedule non-conference New York schools to play against, while also trying to get games at larger New York arenas like Madison Square Garden.
By building a hot destination for New York fans to flock to, Neptune hopes to bring in some top New York talent to play for him. In terms of recruiting, Neptune described his connections within the city, while also mentioning that Fordham’s own alumni network in the area would be a major help.
“Being from here, and being fortunate enough to have genuine relationships with a lot of the coaches, I’m hoping that they look at Fordham as a landing spot for a lot of their players, and a destination they look at as really solid.”
While not getting into the specifics of X’s and O’s, Coach Neptune explained that the on-the-court style he would like to implement at Fordham isn’t too different than what they’ve already been trying to create. Playing into the team’s most recent strengths, defense and tenacity will be major pillars in his future game plan.
“I would just like for them to be known as a tough, nasty bunch. I want to be a team that no one wants to play against,” Neptune said. “From there, if we can do that, depending on who we bring, we’ll figure out how to play. I want to develop an exciting, up-tempo brand of basketball that fans will want to watch, but what I want as a constant factor is that we’re a nasty team on the court.”
In a conference like the A-10, creating a home court that opponents fear is a big ask, which Neptune already seemed to be aware of. Before taking on this position, Coach Neptune had been following the Atlantic 10 relatively closely. By continuing to build the Fordham program within the Atlantic 10, Coach Neptune also emphasized that being competitive in this conference would continue to bring in more top-tier talent.
“It’s an unbelievable conference. There aren’t many conferences that are much better on the East Coast,” Neptune said. “It’s going to be competitive, which is a good thing, because you have to be somewhere competitive to attract good players.”
Regardless of building culture or connections to build this program, Neptune acknowledged that this team is nothing without the players. Before meeting with any press today, Neptune made a major effort to talk to the players returning to the roster next season, explaining how he wants to work with them to build this program’s future.
“Talking to the guys today, I wanted to hear their viewpoints, and get what they were thinking about the current state of the program. Today was really about getting to know them. I really want to put them first in building this program.”
In terms of his first moves as Head Coach, Neptune will simply continue to build relationships with his new players in order to lay the foundation of a new era for Fordham Men’s Basketball.