Despite competing against some of the best teams in New England, such as Northfield Mount Hermon, which each year graduates multiple Division 1 collegiate athletes, the Deerfield boys’ varsity basketball team lacks neither confidence nor talent.
This year the team is composed of five post graduates, four returners, and several players who have moved up from junior varsity. The captains of the team are post graduates Samuel Willson ’12 and Harry Glor ’12, a tri-varsity athlete.
Willson, a basketball post-graduate who spent his past four years at Taft, expressed his confidence in the capabilities and potential of the team. Although making the playoffs is the team’s main focus, Willson stated, “Putting the team before my personal goals is my goal.” The 6’4” shooting guard plans to play at a Division 3 college.
After a respectable, chemistry-testing effort in a scrimmage against perennial basketball powerhouse Hotchkiss, Alex Wagman ’12 said, “There is a lot to be excited about.”
Head Coach Conrad Pitcher was also pleased, stating, “I think we have a better basketball IQ than previous years.”
Other contributors to the scrimmage included Mark Glicini ’12, a lacrosse post graduate headed to Yale; another post graduate, Brian Pickup ’12, who will play lacrosse at Princeton next year; T.J. Randall ’13; and Patrick Ononibaku ’14.
The team is working to improve its aggressiveness and discipline from previous seasons. As a tradition, Coach Pitcher addresses his team daily with “pearls of wisdom” to keep his athletes motivated to put all of their effort into practices.
The team’s forté is charging on defense, which involves sacrificing a defensive player by allowing the opponent driving towards the hoop to collide with him, and drawing a foul. Other teams recognize Deerfield for its consistency with successful charges.
Willson cited the work ethic and aggressiveness of the players who moved up from junior varsity (Niko Grupen ’12, William Hess ’12, and James Yang ’12) as a primary motivation for the varsity veterans to work harder and as a unit.
Last year, the team graduated Kyle Kager ’11, a 6’7” forward who received a full scholarship to play basketball at American University, a Division 1 school.
Deerfield also graduated Jimmy Bitter ’11, a major contributor to the team who currently plays lacrosse for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
Despite the loss of these talented players, Coach Pitcher is very confident that his new team is overall better rounded than his teams in the past and possesses the discipline, responsibility and raw talent of a winning team.