Men's Basketball Aims To Defend And Dominate

By Rachel Mervyn
Assistant Sports Editor

The Men’s Basketball team at Rochester College kicked off its season with a win against Redeemer University College Thursday, Oct. 22. Coach Klint Pleasant likes what he has seen so far with his guys and is excited for what the rest of the season has to offer.

Redshirts Strong Showing

Sophomore Justin Nafso and Senior Viktoras Merkevicius were redshirted last year but made a strong showing in their season debut.

“I’m pleased with both of them, they both had good opening weekends. Justin played a lot of minutes because we have had some guys injured. I thought he played really well, Vik as well,” Pleasant said.

Team Depth

With several players out for injury, including Matt Gold, Pleasant reflects on his team. “I think our team is built in a way that if a player goes down and injured in any way, we have players ready to step up and I think we saw that with Justin in Matt’s place in our first two games,” Pleasant said.

Four Pillars of RC Basketball

Pleasant focuses his team on respecting the process of team building, building chemistry among the players, and working hard. He wants his team to follow the four pillars of his philosophy, which are:

  1. to have character in all they do
  2. have incredible defensive pressure and communication
  3. value the ball
  4. take great shots and pay attention to detail

Potential To Be Great 

The upcoming season is looking strong. Several starters have returned, and with the activation of Nafso and Merkevicius, the team has potential to be great, Pleasant said. Additionally, the team gained two new players, Jaylen Larry and Angelo Griffis, two players who can bring a lot to the table.

“Early in the season we have more injuries, more than I’m used to. We have four or five guys that are just not ready to go, so that is a setback,” Pleasant said..

Cold Weather Affects Gym Floor

Another big challenge  Pleasant and the team are facing is when the weather gets colder, the gym floor builds up condensation, making it slippery and the guys can only get in a 30- or 40-minute practice.

Senior's Goal for the Season

Senior Jeroen De Baat plays center for the Warriors. He hopes he and his team can win every game and become a family while doing it. His goal for the year is to become the best player he can possibly be and to give everything he has to help the team achieve their goal.

“We have a good team. The first game was pretty good, and of course we added Larry and Griffis, both are great players, “ said De Baat.

Lack of Athletic Center Creates Challenges

 Pleasant added that another significant challenge for all the student athletes at RC is not having an athletic center. He said that the biggest challenge is coming up with more resources for our athletes.

“Until that happens, we can’t let our coaches and athletes make that an excuse to not be great. We’ve had a lot of sports make it to nationals with the resources we do have and I think that needs to be celebrated,” Pleasant said.

Pleasant hopes that when the college's  new gym is built, more of the student body will come out and support the Warriors at games.

“It means so much to the student athletes when they look out into the crowd and see the student body there,” Pleasant said.

 The Warriors’ next home game is Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. Put on your crimson gear and come support!