The Suffolk University men’s basketball team simply can’t wait for the season to start. The team has been working very hard and there is no doubt that the Rams are only focused on one thing this year; they want to win the GNAC championship and end the depressing 11 year trophy-less streak this season. The team struggled last season as they posted an 8-18 record, but this year they are certain that they will improve that result.
There is no question that the mental part of game is under control and judging by the intense practices it is clear that the physical shape of the players is excellent as well. Head coach Adam Nelson wants his players to be 100 percent prepared for the season in all aspects of the game and hopefully that serious preparation will pay off on Friday. Not every coach makes his team run the terrifying drill fittingly called “suicides”. In this drill the players have to run across the court touching the different lines on the floor. The players have to keep running over and over and touch all the lines. This is the one drill that all athletes fear and many sports teams do not even attempt to do this drill, so this will help the players physically on the court during the intense matches and give them extra strength.
One of the players who really believes in a GNAC championship win this season is Matt Pepdjonovic, a player who has already scored more than 1000 points for the rams. Pepdjonovic is a vital part of the team and has played 3 successful seasons for the rams. This season is his last season and his last chance to get a championship plaque. When asked about his expectations for the season he said: “It is my senior year so honestly I just have one expectation and that is to win the GNAC title. I have been working on that for four years so that is what I am expecting this year. Last time we won a GNAC championship was in 2001 so it’s been 11 years without a title, so hopefully this year we’re going to win. Last season we had some really great games, but we were not consistent enough during the whole season, we are working on that this year.”
Championships aside, Pepdjonovic enjoys spending time with his team mates, and the guys get along both on and off the court. He believes there is a really good spirit and chemistry on the team and that is definitely helping them on the court. According to Pepdjonovic, every practice is very serious and intense, but at the same time there is space for some “fooling around” and other funny aspects. Every practice is hard but also fun because there are some real characters in the team. When asked the question who is the funniest guy in the team, Pepdjonovic had to think for a while because there are all very entertaining; initially a name came to his mind: “We’ve got a couple of characters in the team, but I have to go with Carlos De La Cruz, our point guard – he is out there. He is always a good time. He knows when to be serious, that’s the good thing about him. He is a funny kid, that is for sure, he says some funny things during practice – before and after.” It is always important to know when to be serious and when to have fun on the court, and it looks like the rams can do both. A practice that is not fun is not a good practice. You always have to enjoy what you are doing and if it’s all work and no play every day, there is no point to it.
The important season opener is on Saturday, Nov. 10 against New Hampshire and this game will show where the Rams stand compared to the other teams. The confidence is high prior to the season and everyone believes that this is the season that is going to change things around for the men’s basketball team of Suffolk University.