By Corey Picard
The Sacred Heart University (SHU) men’s club basketball season came to an abrupt end amid the Coronavirus pandemic. They finished the season 12-3, defeating each of the teams they played at least once.
The team played by the motto “Why not us?” Head coach Whit Taylor believes this attitude is a vital part of their success.
“They are never willing to settle or quit,” said Taylor.
Senior Joe Lucy believes this team consisted of the most talented players he had ever played with.
“Every single guy that’s on the team, from the starters to the last man on the roster, has an incredible amount of talent,” said Lucy. “They bring it every single day. When someone gets called off the bench, they are definitely ready to play.”
Taylor reflected on the struggle that their schedule posed. Early in the season, the team had over a month between games. In February, the team experienced its first consecutive weeks of competition, playing teams each Saturday from Feb. 8 to Feb. 22.
When they have competition, they play three games in one day, a task that can be straining for the team. Taylor made sure all of his players are hydrated and rested while competing.
“It is a tough task sometimes to stay focused and prepared, but whenever we get called on we always show up,” said Lucy.
With a regular season that stretches from November to March, Taylor wanted to keep the team focused on their larger goal, the postseason.
Much like the Division I NCAA tournaments in March, club basketball also has tournaments. The top eight club basketball teams from the Northeast Conference meet in a championship tournament. The winner then advances to the national championship tournament at Indiana University.
When the team wasn’t practicing, they scheduled “pick-up” games with each other. Lucy credited their team bond for helping them remain concentrated.
“I think that the group that we have together this year is a lot tighter than in previous years,” said Lucy. “We all get along really well on and off the court.”
Lucy believed this team was the best he had experienced in his four years.
“This season has been great. I think the team has done an excellent job,” said Lucy.
Lucy expressed disappointment that the season could be cut short, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but kept a positive outlook.
“We’re just doing the best we can. We can’t control it so whatever happens, happens,” said Lucy.
The remaining season has since been cancelled, as the Associated Press reported that the NCAA decided to cancel all remaining championships in winter sports, as well as championships in every spring sport.
For the SHU club basketball team, this meant they missed their final three games, against Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the postseason. Taylor was upset that the team did not have the chance to make a run at the conference title.
“I truly feel bad for all of my seniors. They will be missed tremendously on and off the court.”
Reflecting on his four years as a part of the team, Lucy was confident that they helped him through his college experience.
“I’ve met a lot of my really close friends through basketball,” said Lucy. “We share great friendships.”
With the season ending unexpectedly, Lucy is happy to have been a part of it.
“I really enjoyed my time playing,” said Lucy. “It was always a good time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.