As the GW men’s and women’s basketball teams continue to prepare for their upcoming seasons, the teams’ seniors have played integral leadership roles. The men’s team has been transformed from last year’s young squad, featuring a veteran group of eight upper classmen this year.
This is a team I’m more comfortable with, head coach Tom Penders said. In my coaching experience, my better teams have had good leadership from seniors.
Seniors Mike King, Bernard Barrow, Pat Ngongba and Antxon Iturbe lead the team’s less experienced players, which include freshmen Darnell Miller and Greg Collucci, allowing the young players to feed off the emotions and knowledge of their older teammates.
Realizing their great responsibility, the seniors have made a conscious effort to aid their underclassmen teammates in recent practices.
We try to help the freshmen on the court and off the court, Ngongba said.
We just try to motivate them, Barrow added.
Barrow said the seniors are not the only ones leading the way.
(Junior) Jason (Smith) is our real emotional leader, Barrow said. We are leading by example, that’s what we’re trying to do this year.
The women’s team is showing similar progress. Although several key players graduated last year, including shooting guard Elisa Aguilar and point guard Marlo Egleston, the team’s four seniors – Kristeena Alexander, Corrin Reid, Leslie Carlson and Petra Dubovcova – have been hard at work to help their younger teammates. With five freshmen preparing to see quality minutes this year, the seniors certainly have much work ahead.
As a freshman coming to college, it’s very hard, and we understand as seniors that we have to help them in almost every way, Dubovcova said. They are just learning, and our job is to make them understand what we really want from them.
Women’s head coach Joe McKeown said seniors have done a good job guiding the team’s freshmen.
When you have five freshman, you’re really going to need your seniors, McKeown said. I’m very pleased with the way (the seniors) have relished the leadership role.