STRATFORD—Khalid Moreland’s senior year certainly didn’t start how he expected.
Due to some academic circumstances that occurred outside of the gymnasium, Moreland was forced to spend the first four games of the season sitting on the bench and watching his teammates play.
Since being reinstated into the starting line-up, though, the 5-foot-9 point guard has helped Bunnell put together a seven-game winning streak that has them situated fifth in the Division II standings and undefeated in SWC play through five games.
“I knew he’d make a huge impact, but I didn’t know how much,” Bunnell coach Dannie Powell said. “He’s been there before. He has the confidence.”
Moreland came off the bench in his first game back, a 60-55 loss to Ridgefield in the opening round of the Bunnell Holiday tournament back in December.
Since then, though, the Bulldogs have run the table—including wins over Notre Dame-Fairfield and Kolbe Cathedral, two teams who had beaten Bunnell when Moreland wasn’t on the court.
“I knew we were losing because we were missing that one extra player,” Moreland said.
That player the Bulldogs were missing was a multi-tool player, as well.
As point guard, Moreland sets up his teammates, but can also score when needed.
And, on the defensive end of the court, he’s as good a defender as the Bulldogs have.
Just as important has been his leadership.
“He’s not afraid to speak up to the other guys,” Powell said. “I don’t have to always be the bad guy.”
Moreland prides himself on what he feels he brings to the team.
“Leadership and energy,” he said. “When I’m out there, I control the tempo because I’m the point guard. I do everything I can to bring as much energy as we need.”
Even when he was forced to sit, he made sure he remained a good team and leader for the Bulldogs.
“He was a good teammate. He stayed positive,” Powell said. “He was on the second squad (in practice) and he pushed the first team. During games, he’d sit on the bench and get water and what not. I was proud of him how he handled it all.”
It wasn’t easier.
Moreland is a basketball player and there are few things he loves more than being out on the basketball court, the word “Bunnell” stitched across his chest, a basketball in his hand.
“It was really tough because I had to watch everything,” Moreland said. “But I learned my lesson.”
Powell added, “He earned his spot back. It wasn’t just given to him.”
Since he’s been back, though, the Bulldogs keep winning.
Maximus Edwards, Bunnell’s star junior forward, credits Moreland with the run.
“Khalid Moreland—He’s a great teammate on and off the court,” Edwards said. “He gets everybody involved. He’s a great person and a great point guard. If you’re down, he’ll bring you up. And if he’s in the zone, I feel sorry for anybody who is guarding him.”
Moreland’s goal for his senior season is simple: To go out as a winner.
“The goal for this team is winning SWCs and a state championship,” Moreland said. “If we can do that, we’ve done everything we can do.”
And with Khalid Moreland on the court, running the show, there seems to be little Bunnell can’t do this season.