By: Andy Kleinlein ’17
First-year guard Andy Kleinlein
Voted as the worst interviewer on the team, it shocks me that I have been asked to write this post, but after a long wait, the W&L world finally gets to hear from me (unless a deleted scenes video is shown.) This past summer, when Blake, Austin, Stephen and I were working camp with a few of the upperclassmen and learning the ways of Lexington (mostly how much we dislike Darren), Jim, stinkin’ on a farm somewhere in Colorado, took his time to text each one of us. While I obviously thought he was really weird at the time and still do, it showed how much he cares about the program and about us. The transition to college basketball is difficult, but with the leadership of Pat, Jim, and Kevin, it has been made a lot easier. Everyday, they challenge us to “make the jump,” like our beloved idol Ben Goetsch did a few years back, and these leaders constantly hold us accountable for our actions on and off the court.
As we arrive at the midpoint in the conference season, us first-year players have learned how challenging life is in the ODAC. Regardless how many times Kevin or Pat have ripped out their mouth guards to correct our mistakes in practice, or how many times we’ve been hit with Jim’s elbows, forearms, shoulders, knees, hips, etc., it did not fully prepare us with what we would be facing. Every possession is a test of will. So far, things have not gone as we envisioned, but for many teams, losing creates dissension. For this team, the losses have brought us closer, searching everyday for a way to improve and scrap for a win. In order to achieve our common goal of winning the ODAC Championship, our focus has shifted to “closing the gap.” In a recent meeting, the captains challenged us to reflect on our daily lives and see where basketball ranks in our priorities. Individually, we made certain commitments to close our own gap so we can close the gap as a team. With a number of close losses, we know that drastic changes do not have to be made. A few little mistakes here and there are keeping us from achieving our goal. We do not know which loose ball, rebound or hustle play could turn our season around, so we are now concentrating on playing every possession like it’s a one-possession game. On a positive note, it’s still only halfway through the conference season and there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. We know that with the group of guys we have, including our coaches, (and our close friends painted in blue every home game), we can still achieve our ultimate goal of holding up the ODAC Championship trophy at the end of February.
Next Up: We mic the coaches for a video look at a W&L men’s basketball practice. That’s coming up next week.