Just nine practices into the season, all of the Cabrini basketball players, new and old, come together to take a shot at making this their best year yet.
Although the tryouts were held the week of Oct. 16, Coach John Dzik and his staff have yet to decide who will be making the team. “The tryouts went well. It is difficult to trim it down when you have a lot of players with equal ability,” Dzik said. “So far, we’ve gone from 35 people to 18 for varsity. And right now, it is open ended as to how many players we will keep. It is between 15 and 18.”
The level of complexity in this decision process has the staff mystified with the impression that all of the men who tried out did very well. “All of the players did a very good job. That made the task that much harder,” Dzik said. “It’s not just about basketball.”
Some of the new players Coach Dzik and the staff are noticing include three transfer students. Bruce McLelland, from Delaware University, is showing great potential and has caught Dzik’s eye. Also, Jim Good and Jim McMahon, share more than just a first name. They are both transfer students from Philadelphia University, and both have earned a positive comment from Coach Dzik. “They are already good in the early going season.” Dzik said.
Although new students are approaching different territory, the chemistry has been very good between the old and new players, according to Dzik. “We have to give a lot of credit to the returning players for helping the new players become acclimated. Plus, the new faces have been receptive to that.” Dzik adds, “The atmosphere has been really good. Of course we haven’t lost any games yet, so everybody’s happy!”
When looking for that perfect basketball player, Dzik goes after four main characteristics. One, ability or the quality of their basketball skills. Two, attitude. three, work ethic and consistency. Finally, number four, coachability. “Players must be willing to take constructive criticism and use it to improve their game,” Dzik said. “And so far, this group has been good in each one of these areas.”
Dzik has also been recognizing certain people’s skill for particular positions on the team. In regards to the point guard position, he believes that it is stronger than a year ago. This season, there are about five people he has been scouting for the position. Dan Clemens, senior, and Colin Fitzgerald, freshman, are just two examples.
The number of possibilities for these positions is considered to be a real advantage for the team. “This gives us lots of depth, especially if injuries occur,” Dzik said.
Although there are high hopes for the various positions on the team, their schedule is a lot tougher compared to last season. “It’s harder! We are on the road for 11 days starting on Nov. 18. We open this season against Methodist, champions of ODAC. They were in the NCA tournament last year. All in all, we start with five away games from good competition,” Dzik said. “It’s hard. We’ll find out a lot about our team very quickly.”
The basketball team maintains the same five goals every season. “One is to be physical and aggressive because sports demand it. Two is to never give up…there is always a silver lining. Three is to enjoy the college basketball experience. Four is to enjoy one another as people, and five is to have fun,” Dzik said. However, there is a new addition to these five goals for this upcoming season.
“Win the PACs! If we do the first five goals, we will always have success. We must work hard and be lucky, but we most certainly have the ability to reach this realistic goal,” Dzik said. While Coach Dzik and the staff concentrate on making their final decisions on who makes the team, he expressed a message that he believes will help the motivation of players on any team. “We want people to come out and enjoy games. That’s what it’s all about. That’s the greatest motivator for our teams. Looking out into the stands and seeing a large crowd turns the athlete into an actor almost. We always do a better job when there’s a full house,” Dzik said. “We just ask for the support of the community.”
Posted to the web by Ryan Norris