The Lafayette club basketball team is off to a quick start after two scrimmages, both wins, as they head into their season opener against Drew University on Sunday, Dec. 2. The team’s first scrimmage was against rival Lehigh, and the second was against Drew. The early season contests provide valuable game time for the team as they look to build confidence and integrate some new freshmen and sophomore players into the lineup.
“As a team we played pretty well. We used the first scrimmage [against Lehigh] just to get new players used to the game and they all held their own,” said senior forward Ian Hronich.
One of the key players for the Leopards in the scrimmages was leading scorer Ordep Gonzalez, a junior returning for his third season with the team. Although they are working some new players into the fold, the returning members have been able to use the continuity from last season to their benefit.
“So far we’ve been running more smoothly than before,” said Gonzalez. “We have a few new freshmen who are good, but mostly the same team from last year. We have good chemistry and [are using] that to our advantage this year.”
Gonzalez was listed as a player to watch by the National Club Basketball Association, and he looks to take on a leadership role after recording back-to-back 20-point games in the first two contests. Despite being one of the main offensive contributors, a strong work ethic and positive mindset helps Gonzalez stay relaxed.
“No pressure,” he explained, when asked about how he feels being one of the team’s leaders. “I put a lot of work into my craft and I know the work I put in is beneficial and will pay off in games.”
“I listen to everyone and try to get everyone involved in the game,” added Gonzalez.
Another key factor in the team’s recent success has been senior Ian Hronich, who’s comfortable with his contributions to the team so far.
“I fill my role well,” said Hronich, when asked about his place on the squad. He considers the team to be “pretty talented,” and is especially looking forward to playing Montclair State University and Drew this season, both new teams in their club division.
Hronich went on to highlight the “well-rounded players” who can contribute to the team’s scoring. Gonzalez, too, alluded to the balanced team play as a positive so far.
“Everyone has been involved in the past two scrimmages and shooting and making shots,” Hronich added.
The outlook is bright for club basketball, and the team will look to continue its success this weekend against Drew University on Sunday in Madison, N.J.