Varsity Basketball: Ones to Watch


Cade Counsell, Cub News Writer

The roster is established, the schedule is set, and U of D’s basketball season is underway. With an almost wholly new varsity roster this season, many of the younger players have stood out to the upperclassmen and the coaches. Those returning from last season will continue to star in their final year at U of D. During the Cubs first ever Media Day hosted by the Cub Sportscast Club, I had the chance to ask some of the players and coaches a variety of questions about who to watch for this year.

Younger players on the varsity team, the freshmen and sophomores, will have an opportunity to play at a higher level this year. When asked who among the underclassmen has stood out the most, senior Sonny Wilson had a positive outlook on the players: “Really all of them are standing out, especially at practices,” Wilson said. “The energy is picking up. I love these guys.” All of the freshmen and sophomores seem to be stepping up and working hard, especially during practices. When asked the same question, Varsity head coach, Pat Donnelly, had a more specific answer. He told me that sophomores Leroy Blyden and Xavier Johnson have adjusted really well to playing at a higher level and that they should see some significant minutes throughout the season.

A press conference kicked off the UDJ Cub Sportcast’s first ever Media Day

During the press conference, Blyden was asked what is something that he’s improved on from last season. “Probably my court vision, my defense, and… knowing the open spots to be at a certain time,” he answered. It is good to know that these sophomores will be seeing extra run, and hopefully, they can make an impact throughout the season.

Good defense and shooting are two of the most important aspects of basketball and success in a season. So who is the best defender on the varsity team? The best shooters? I posed the first question to junior Linus Gowman. “There’s a lot of good defenders on our team. Coach Donnelly prides our team on defense,” Gowman answered. But when asked to choose a single player as the best defender, Gowman responded, “I’m going to go with Gerrard; those arms are weapons.” When asked the question about the best shooters on the team, sophomore Sebastian Randolph selected three of the best shooters: “Probably Jamarion (Sonny) or Leroy…and Ryan.”

My final question, “the game’s on the line, the clock’s running down, whose hands do you want the basketball in, other than yourself” was posed to Sonny Wilson. “That’s a good question. We’ve got good options. You can get the ball really to anybody. I feel like they’re going to be able to make a play,” Wilson responded. The varsity team seems to have a variety of options, both on the offensive and defensive end, to make big plays, especially in end-of-game situations. It’s encouraging to hear that the upperclassmen and coaches trust the younger players to perform in the big moments, and that the team is quickly developing chemistry. As of December 16th,  the team sits at a 3-0 record.