SPORTS PIPE DREAM
Friday, March 8, 2013
The Rookie Jordan Reed has taken the America East by storm his freshman season, averaging 16.7 points per game and leading the league in rebounding
Jimmy Gray, Senior Guard
8 TEAMS | 7 GAMES | 1 AMERICA EAST CHAMPION | 1 TICKET TO THE DANCE
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT SPECIAL AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP, MARCH 8 - MARCH 16 Morgan Murphy, Freshman Forward
Filling big shoes After seeing marginal playing time last season, Sherae Swinson has stepped up to help fill the gaps left behind by last yearâ€™s leading seniors
LOOKING TO UPSET It’s called March Madness for a reason. To paraphrase, that’s what Binghamton men’s basketball head coach Tommy Dempsey has told his team as it prepares to face top-seeded Stony Brook in the America East tournament quarterfinals on Saturday. “I told the players that over the next month they’re going to see a lot of crazy things happen in college basketball, a lot of upsets,” he said. “Teams are going to win games that they weren’t supposed to win, and our mindset has to be that we believe we can be one of them.” Under head coach Steve Pikiell, the Seawolves (236, 14-2 AE) have now won three regular-season league championships in the last four years. They’ve fallen short in the conference tournaments, but this is arguably Pikiell’s best team. Stony Brook, which finished the regular season with a program-record 23 wins, leads the America East in points per game and scoring defense, and according to www.kenpom. com, the Seawolves rank 30th in the entire country in adjusted defensive efficiency. Binghamton (3-26, 1-15 AE) averaged 42 points in a pair of losses to the Seawolves this season. In last year’s quarterfinal matchup with Stony Brook, Binghamton led with as few as 11 minutes left before falling 78-69. This year, the No. 8 seeded Bearcats think they’ll have a chance to upset the top seed if they can stay close late in the game. “If we’re in it come the stretch, the pressure slips off of us and goes on the other
team because, from what I hear, they’ve been the best in the league a couple years and never really … went to the NCAA tournament,” BU freshman guard Jordan Reed said. “So I figure as long as our team stays in it, the pressure will gradually slip over to them and we hopefully will come out on top.” Dempsey expects his team to have some extra fans in the stands come Saturday, as Albany, the tournament’s host, plays after the Bearcats. With a win over Maine, the Great Danes would face either Stony Brook or Binghamton in the semifinals. “The Albany faithful won’t be rooting for Stony Brook, I’m sure,” Dempsey said. But even with all the support in the world, tightening the reins on Stony Brook won’t be easy. Dempsey said that nearly flawless execution — playing cohesively in the 2-3 zone, hustling back to prevent transition buckets and keeping Stony Brook freshman Jameel Warney and senior Tommy Brenton off the glass — will be key. “When I talk about being perfect it’s not about making every shot or not making any mistakes offensively,” Dempsey said. “It’s more about we’re going to have to be almost perfect defensively. We’re capable of doing that. We just have to stay focused.” Dempsey has often said that this year’s Bearcats need to limit opponents to around 60 points in order to win. Binghamton simply doesn’t have the offensive arsenal to play with a team as the score creeps into the 70s. Reed has been one of the bright spots offensively, though, leading the team and ranking second in the conference with 16.7 points per game.
But Brenton, reputed as one of the Northeast’s premier defenders, frustrated the freshman to the tune of a 10.5-point scoring average on 26.1 percent shooting in the teams’ two meetings. Reed said he likes competing against Brenton for the learning experience. “He’s one of the smartest and [most] talented players that they have here in the America East,” Reed said. “So I feel like going against him is just only going to make me better for next year, but not only next year — just to be a better … player in the future.” Even if Reed finally wins the individual battle with Brenton, Binghamton seniors Jimmy Gray and Taylor Johnston and junior Brian Freeman will need to score, too. But Dempsey said the contributions can’t stop there. “We’ll need some periphery guys to make some big shots and to get some big offensive rebounds,” he said. “You see that happen at this time of year. Sometimes in March, for whatever reason, on a given day for a given team, the ball goes in the basket and a guy who has only made a handful of threes all year makes a couple.” The odds are stacked against Binghamton even finding itself in a situation in which those “big shots” and “big offensive rebounds” could come to fruition. If they do, though, and Binghamton wins, few upsets this season would be more surprising — and this season has featured more than its fair share of shockers. But it’s March, the month in which madness disrupts structure. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday at SEFCU Arena.
Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor
The Bearcats will need to rely on offensive contributions from Jimmy Gray, among others, if they hope to knock off top-seeded Stony Brook in Saturday’s conference quarterfinals.
AMERICA EAST STORYLINES Stony Brook has won three of the last four regular-season titles. The Seawolves are still seeking their firstever NCAA tournament appearance, though, having lost in back-to-back conference championship games. For the first time in conference history, Boston University will not participate in the AE tournament. The Terriers, who finished the regular season in second place, announced that they are leaving the league to join the Patriot League next season, and the conference subsequently banned the team from competing in the tournament. Many conference tournaments are held at neutral sites, but the America East allows member schools to host. For the last three years, it was Hartford. This year it’s Albany, which could potentially play a semifinal home game against top-seeded Stony Brook. The Great Danes would need to beat Maine in the quarterfinals, while the Seawolves would need to dispose of Binghamton. Barring two upsets, Binghamton’s Jordan Reed and Maine’s Justin Edwards won’t face each other this weekend. But the two players are competing for the America East scoring title, with Edwards currently leading Reed 16.678 to 16.667. If Reed wins, he would become the first-ever America East freshman to win both the league scoring and rebounding titles. Vermont has won five America East tournaments since 2003, and, despite losing several significant pieces from last year’s championship team, the Catamounts are in a position to repeat. They’ve already beaten Stony Brook as well as every other team in the field. But a potential second-round tilt with Hartford wouldn’t easily translate into a win — the Hawks beat Vermont in Burlington last weekend. Though UMBC won just seven games this year, the Retrievers’ director of athletics removed Aki Thomas’s interim tag and named him head coach this week. Thomas had served as a UMBC assistant coach until October, when former head man Randy Monroe resigned. Since starting 0-13 last season, Hartford has gone 26-21. The Hawks are the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament thanks to Nate Sikma’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that downed Vermont last weekend. With a young core, Hartford is on the rise.
Stony Brook's Warney turns heads in freshman season Freshman forward Jameel Warney, who graduated from Roselle Catholic High School as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,968 points, has continued to raise eyebrows since joining Stony Brook, the top-seeded team in this weekend’s America East tournament. Warney has proven to be especially potent around the net, leading the conference with a fieldgoal percentage of 62.4 and tying for the top spot in blocks per game with 1.6. His 7.3 rebounds per contest rank sixth in the league. Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said Warney’s outstanding
freshman season didn’t come as a surprise to him. “From day one, the first time I saw him play, I knew he’d have a tremendous impact on our program and in the league,” he said. “The first thing [that stands out]: 6-foot-9, 260 [pounds],” Pikiell added. “That was the first thing that jumps right off the page. I mean he’s huge and he’s got tremendous hands and he’s really, really coachable. So he’s got three great things going for him.” And those three qualities have made him a key player on one of the country’s best mid-major teams — the Seawolves ranked No. 17 in the latest College Insider Mid-Major Top 25.
Warney has started every game for the Seawolves, leading them with 12.2 points per contest. He has also posted the team’s secondhighest rebounding average, trailing only senior forward Tommy Brenton’s 8.7 boards per night. And in an offense predicated on balance and passing, Warney has proven to be a real team player. “He’s unselfish almost too much, to a fault sometimes,” Pikiell said. “He’s a real good passer, and he really is a great teammate. He’s got some great qualities for a big guy that are kind of rare.” Though he still has room to grow, Warney is certainly off to an impressive start, having already broken two program records. On
Nov. 11 against Mount Ida, he really talk about individual stuff.” became the first Stony Brook player to shoot 100 percent from the floor (8-for-8) while attempting at least eight field goals. And no other Seawolf has ever earned as many as Warney’s eight America East Rookie of the Week awards. But even though Warney is a prime candidate to win the conference’s Rookie of the Year honor, Pikiell said he and the team haven’t given the accolade much thought. “We’re just trying to win a league championship,” he said. “We Provided don’t really get too involved with Jameel Warney the personal, individual awards and what-have-you. We preach the Warney has improved his play team, team, team stuff, so we don’t through the season, posting higher
numbers in the conference slate than in earlier season play. In Stony Brook’s 16 America East games, he shot 65 percent and averaged 12.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. It wasn’t a very steep change, but a tangible improvement, nonetheless. “He’s gotten better at both ends of the floor,” Pikiell said. “Defensively he’s made great strides. He’s in great shape — he wasn’t in great shape early on, so his conditioning has improved a great deal. Just his overall basketball IQ is just really good and improving.” And with three more years of eligibility still remaining, there’s no saying just how good Warney can be if he continues to improve.
Three Bearcats garner accolades The following year, Elofson saw a reduction in playing time, as the team had four seniors, but the forward was still able to average more than five points and five rebounds per game despite being hampered by a shoulder injury.
— Nicole Scholl BU head coach
This year, Elofson is one of three seniors and a fundamental part of the team, both on the court and off. She has started 22 of the 24 games she’s played in and averaged six points and five rebounds in 24.5 minutes. “It’s been great seeing Kara grow, especially coming back from that shoulder injury [her Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor junior year],” BU head coach Now in her fourth season with the Bearcats, Kara Elofson is viewed by her teamNicole Scholl said. “She’s been mates as a leader both on and off the court. a great leader for us, and as a head coach, you’re going to winners on the depth chart. miss your seniors when they As a freshman at go.” Binghamton, the 5-footFrom her freshman year After leading Hopkins High 10-inch forward saw limited until now, Elofson said she School (Minn.) in scoring playing time, but in 2010- believes that she has improved and rebounding her senior 11, she became a starter and across the board. year, Kara Elofson arrived ranked third on the team “I think conditioning at Binghamton with an in scoring and rebounding, helped me the most with impressive résumé but behind averaging nine points and improving on all my other a talented group of letter eight rebounds per game. skills, and I’ve definitely
improved on my outside shot,” she said. “A couple of games have been going by where I’ve taken that shot and it’s been going in, which is good since in the past I never really tried to take it that much.” Off the court, the Minneapolis, Minn. native plays an active role in the development of her younger teammates. “We will have a lot of ups and downs, especially as you’ve seen this season, but if you keep your focus things will fall into place eventually,” Elofson said she tells her teammates. Freshman forward Morgan Murphy said Elofson leads by example. “Often times Coach tells me to watch her, see what she’s doing. I see what she does, and I’ve seen that she’s had a lot more confidence with her shot this year, so I know that’s something I can work on improving,” Murphy said. “She’s not a flashy player, but she’s very fundamentally strong, both on offense and defense.” When Binghamton takes the SEFCU Arena floor against Hartford today at noon, Elofson knows it could be her last game as a Bearcat. But regardless of this weekend’s results, she hopes to have helped her team’s future through her leadership and example.
Three Binghamton women’s basketball players received accolades at Thursday evening’s America East awards ceremony. Sophomore forward Sherae Swinson was named to the allconference third team, junior guard Jasbriell Swain made the all-defensive team and freshman forward Morgan Murphy earned all-rookie team honors. After scoring 2.5 points per game as a freshman, Swinson became the focal point of Binghamton’s offense this season, increasing her average to a teamhigh 10.2 points per game. She ranked 15th in the conference in scoring. Swain, who averaged 8.3 points per game, ranked second in the America East with 8.4 rebounds
per game and third with 2.6 steals per game. In her first season with the Bearcats, Murphy finished third on the team in scoring with 7.1 points per game. Her 4.3 rebounds per game ranked fourth on the Bearcats. Albany senior guard/forward Ebone Henry and Boston University senior guard Chantell Alford were named co-Players of the Year, while Henry also took Defensive Player of the Year honors. Maine forward Liz Wood and Albany forward Shereesha Richards split the Rookie of the Year award. After leading her team to a perfect regular season conference record, Albany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was named Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
Women's basketball looks to repeat upset performance There is a sense of déjà vu lingering around the Binghamton women’s basketball team this year as it gears up for this afternoon’s America East quarterfinals. The Bearcats, who beat No. 3-seeded Hartford as the No. 6 seed last year, will once again find themselves seeking an upset performance when they take on the No. 2-seeded Hawks in Albany. Last season, the Bearcats beat the Hawks 48-45 in Hartford, but lost to eventual champion Albany in the semifinals 58-50. This is the first time since 2003 that Binghamton has entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed. Last year, though, the Bearcats were a totally different team, centered around four seniors, three of whom comprised the team’s top scorers. Led by Andrea Holmes, the seniors scored 38 of Binghamton’s 48 points against Hartford. The team has three seniors this year, but sophomore Sherae Swinson and juniors Jasbriell Swain and Vaneeshia Paulk lead the team in scoring now. It will be on this trio and players like freshman Morgan Murphy
Player of the Year
to carry the Bearcats to another impressive victory over Hartford. “I can’t lie, knowing our history I smiled, because you never know what’s going to happen with us playing Hartford,” Swain said. “It’s win or go home, so I’m excited to play [them]. It’s not going to be easy, and they’re going to be aggressive, so it’s up to us to be more aggressive.” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said she was happy that topseeded Albany, which is hosting the tournament, plays on the other side of the bracket. But overall, she said she’s focused on the game ahead for her team. “I think we’re sitting in a good spot right now,” she said. “I think the big thing for this game is going to be a defensive battle. Both teams are very strong defensive teams … and we really need to focus on [senior forward] Nikkia Smith, who is the heart and soul of that program, so we need to keep her under control.” Smith, who was named to the allconference second team on Thursday evening, has averaged 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor this year. She scored 13 and 14 points, respectively, the two times Hartford faced Binghamton this year.
Rookie of the Year
The teams split their regular season series, with Binghamton taking the first match 46-44 on Jan. 2 at the Events Center and the Hawks winning the rematch 65-50 on Feb. 6. Hartford, which averages 57.4 points per game, bests Binghamton in every offensive statistical category and also holds a seven-point advantage in scoring defense. Scholl said her players understand the nature of the conference tournament: win and advance, or lose and go home. That type of setup could raise anxiety levels as tip-off approaches. “But once that ball gets rolling,” Scholl said, “all the nerves will be gone.” If the Bearcats upset Hartford, they will advance to the semifinals and face the winner of the UMBCVermont quarterfinal game. The Bearcats are 2-0 against the Retrievers in the America East tournament, having won quarterfinal games in 2006 (77-62) and 2009 (66-54). Against Vermont, however, Binghamton is 0-2, having lost in the quarterfinal round in 2003 (69-58) and 2005 (80-65). Tip-off against Hartford is set for noon today at Albany’s SEFCU Arena. ESPN3 will have the broadcast.
Coach of the Year
Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook
Jameel Warney, Stony Brook
Steve Pikiell, Stony Brook
In an age when players are glorified for pouring in gaudy point totals, Tommy Brenton is as old-school as they come. You won’t see his name on the conference’s top-20 scorers list, but his contributions to Stony Brook’s recordsetting season run deeper than his 8.9 points per game. He’ll graduate as the Seawolves’ all-time leader in rebounds and steals — he averaged 8.7 and 1.6 per game this year — and he’s widely regarded as an elite defender. But at 6 feet 5 inches, Brenton also plays the role of point forward, ranking second in the conference in assists with 4.9 per game.
The America East featured three standout freshmen this season, but Jameel Warney stood out just a little more. Warney shot 65 percent in conference games and ranked 10th in scoring with 12.2 points per game and sixth in rebounding with 7.3 boards per game. Boston University’s Maurice Watson Jr. played exceptionally well during the Terriers’ late surge that led to a second-place finish, and Binghamton’s Jordan Reed could become the first-ever freshman to lead the conference in both scoring and rebounding. But neither player was as efficient or consistent as Warney.
Last year, Stony Brook finished atop the America East regular-season standings. But the Seawolves graduated three of their top four scorers. With a few new faces and a different core, Steve Pikiell coached Stony Brook to a programrecord 23 wins. The Seawolves also led the conference in points per game and scoring defense, and they rank No. 29 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Vermont’s John Becker, Boston University’s Joe Jones and Hartford’s John Gallagher also had admirable seasons at the helms of their respective teams, but the Seawolves finished with a commanding threegame advantage over the pack.
Player of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
Ebone Henry, Albany
Liz Wood, Maine
Katie Abrahamson, Albany
With Boston’s Chantell Alford leading the league in scoring and having an impressive all-around year, AE coaches tabbed her and Ebone Henry co-Players of the Year. We agree that choosing between Alford and Henry is not easy, but Henry’s reputation as an elite defender — she took the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award — and the Great Danes’ perfect conference record set her apart from Alford. Henry ranked just behind Alford with 14.3 points per game, and she also averaged 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.
In another tight race, Liz Wood edged out Albany’s Shereesha Richards in scoring and rebounding while playing 32.4 minutes per game. Call us biased, but Wood averaged 21 points in 36 minutes per game against Binghamton. Her 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting helped Maine beat the Bearcats on Feb. 16 at the Events Center.
When you go 25-3 and steamroll your way to a perfect conference mark, you’re going to win Coach of the Year, barring some crazy circumstances. That’s just what Katie AbrahamsonHenderson and Albany did in 2012-13. The Great Danes, who are ranked 10th in the latest College Insider Top 25 Poll, dominated to the tune of an 18.9-point scoring margin, leading the conference in points per game and scoring defense while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, by far a league-best.
Sherae Swinson never expected to be leading the 2012-13 Binghamton women’s basketball team, but, after making just a single start last season, that is exactly where the sophomore finds herself heading into this weekend’s America East tournament. Swinson closed out the regular season as the Bearcats’ leading scorer, averaging over 10 points per game to make her the only Binghamton player among the top 20 in the conference in » Total starts: 1 scoring. » Average minutes: 15.0 Playing an average » Points per game: 2.5 of only 15 minutes » Total attempted field per game last season, goals: 53 Swinson emerged as » Field goal percentage: one of Binghamton’s .340 » Rebounds per game: key players in 2012-13, 3.0 totaling 831 minutes of » Season-high: 9 points action, second-most on against Hartford on Jan. 14 the team. The change, according to Swinson, » Total starts: 23 came largely as a result » Average minutes: 28.7 of the transformed team » Points per game: 10.2 dynamic and a new » Total attempted field boost in confidence. goals: 330 BU lost its top three » Field goal percentage: .376 scorers to graduation » Rebounds per game: after the 2011-12 5.0 season, leaving behind » Season-high: 25 points several gaping holes against Vermont on Jan. 16 begging to be filled. “I [knew] that I had nothing to lose coming into this season since we lost a lot of seniors last year and we needed some more leadership,” Swinson said. “So I decided to step up.” The decision paid off quickly as Swinson saw almost more than double her normal minutes in Binghamton’s season-opener and set a new career high in scoring (12 points) in the team’s second game of the year. In Game No. 3, Swinson raised the bar again, leading all scorers with 23 points against Austin Peay. She quickly was beginning to believe in herself. “It was a lot about the confidence this year, because I didn’t have a lot of confidence last year,” Swinson said. “If you don’t really get playing time, it hurts your confidence, but when coach [Nicole Scholl]
gave me a chance to play, my confidence boosted.” The forward went on to break doubledigits in scoring a team-high 14 times, leading the Bearcats in points 13 times and in rebounding six times. Seemingly out of nowhere, the softspoken Swinson found herself in the unexpected role of leader. “I really didn’t imagine this at all. I’ve never been, like, a leading scorer on a team before so it’s all brand new to me,” she said. “But I’m having fun.” Swinson said the role was a little uncomfortable at first, especially as only a sophomore, but she credited Scholl for giving her the confidence and encouraging her to shoot more. Describing herself as “not really talkative,” Swinson said she leads more by doing than saying. “I can be vocal on the court, like calling out screens and stuff,” she said. “But I think I lead mostly by example, by doing what coach says and working hard in practice.” Despite all the leading she has been doing this year, Swinson still watches, soaking in what she can from the older, more experienced players on the team. She looks up to and learns from players like junior guard Jasbriell Swain, senior forward Kara Elofson and senior guard Mallory Lawes. “Jas works hard no matter what,” Swinson said. “She dives on the floor, she … risks her body for steals and rebounds and stuff. [I look up to] Kara because she works hard. Even though she’s undersized, she still posts even though she might not get the ball. And Mal because she just … works hard every day. Coach even says it in the locker room all the time. Mal never gives up at all.” Two of those three players will be gone come next season, but Binghamton is a relatively young team with potential to be real contenders down the road. Swinson said she believes that in a year or two, the Binghamton women’s basketball team could be “very good” if it keeps heading in the same direction. Wherever the next two years take them, the Bearcats will have a leader in Swinson. And as she settles further into the reality of her new role, Swinson might just continue to surprise herself.
Catching up with Binghamton men's basketball
By Zak Seghroucni, Contributing Writer
Jordan Reed freshman forward
ZS: At this early point in your basketball career, have you ever thought about going pro? JR: Yeah, I think about it a lot. I have always dreamed of playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, because that’s my hometown. ZS: Who is your favorite player in the NBA and why? JR: My favorite player in the NBA is Ronald “Flip” Murray. He is from my hometown and was inspirational since he made his way up from a Division II team. The man always played with a chip on his shoulder. ZS: You came to Binghamton to a struggling program. Why? JR: As a freshman I wanted to be able to get on the floor right away. I wanted to play for a team where I could have a significant impact and immediately make a difference. ZS: Statistically you have a higher field-goal percentage [and] average higher scoring numbers and rebounding numbers than some of the top-20 freshmen guards [in the country], according to cbssports.com. Do you feel you should be recognized and ranked in this category of freshmen? JR: Of course. My teammates and I work hard every day. I’ll be there and Binghamton will be a powerhouse in the America East very soon. It’s only a matter of time before people will be camping outside the Events Center for tickets. It’s going to be like that again.
Reed thriving as focal point of BU offense
ZS: What are your plans for the future? CR: I am currently a bio major. I have always thought about coaching. As of now I am just keeping my grades high to see where basketball and the future takes me. ZS: How would you compare the coaching experience you are receiving now to last year’s? CR: Coach Macon and company were good guys. They inherited a rough situation, rougher than the one they have now. Basketball is a process with many different steps. Coach Macon, unfortunately, wasn’t able to get it done. I still keep in contact. This year there are different x’s and y’s, and we are working hard to establish a culture within the team. We’re not there yet, but we work for it every day. ZS: If you had to put your entire Binghamton experience into one word, what would it be? CR: You got a dictionary on you? I don’t know if there’s one word.
Jabrille Williams sophomore forward
When recruiting Jordan Reed, Binghamton’s coaching staff saw raw talent but couldn’t anticipate Reed’s competitive drive. It wasn’t long after the freshman guard donned the green and white for the first time that BU knew it had something special. “The thing in recruiting that comes so hard at times is what’s on the inside — you don’t always have a great feel for that,” Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “You try to get a feel for what’s on the inside as best you can, but what you normally evaluate in recruiting is what you can see. What I’m learning about Jordan is that he’s got a huge heart, a huge competitive desire. He wants to be great, and he’s coachable. Those are things that separate guys at this level.” In his rookie season, Reed has thrust himself atop the scouting reports of opposing America East teams. His 16.7 points per game are good for second in the conference, while his 9.6 rebounds per game have landed him in first. No other guard in the entire nation has posted a higher rebounding average. Reed has also received America East Rookie of the Week honors six times this season and is very much in the conversation for AE Rookie of the Year. “I was a little bit of a surprise coming into the America East,” Reed said. “They didn’t really know what I was capable of.” As a senior at Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pa., Reed averaged 24.5 points per game. He led the Trojans to a 22-6 record, their first conference title in eight years and their first PIAA state tournament berth in six years. But now that the secret’s out and Reed is clearly BU’s focal point on offense, the freshman has looked to get his teammates more involved. His 39 assists have him at second on the team behind senior point guard Jimmy Gray. “I feel like I’m ultimately going to need my team’s help because I’ve had highscoring games before, but it’s not all about that,” Reed said. “Sometimes you have to have everybody on the same gear because you need more than one scorer to win games. When other people score and when
I get other people involved … I feel like we’re a hard team to stop when we play all together.” Still, Reed knows he has a lot to learn and has a long way to go in his development as a basketball player. Despite the Bearcats’ struggle to find the win column this year, Reed has remained optimistic about the future of the program and continues to push himself so that he can be at his full potential if and when BU becomes a viable threat. “When I came into it, I didn’t know that we would be in this predicament,” Reed said. “It’s stressful, but at the same time I just want to finish out the season strong, and I’m really looking forward to next year. I just feel like it’s a matter of time before Binghamton becomes a powerhouse in the America East conference.” A perfect example of Reed’s perseverance this season came in the team’s Feb. 17 matchup against Maine. After scoring only three points on 0-10 shooting from the floor in the first half, Reed had a talk with assistant coach Ben Luber at halftime. Luber has worked with Reed all season long, helping him to get his jump shot more consistent. In the second half, Reed came out and exploded for 26 points and pulled down 11 of his 17 rebounds. It’s been that kind of season for Reed, who averages 35.1 minutes per game but only owns a 39 percent mark from the field. There are times when his shot isn’t falling, and times when he can’t miss. If Reed can become more consistent with his jump shot, he’ll be that much tougher of an assignment for opponents. “I feel like I had my ups and downs,” Reed said. “I had some great games and some not so good games, but that all comes along with me understanding how college basketball is on this level … I just feel like anything that’s thrown at me, I can just get with my coaches and we can figure out what I did wrong and what can I do better.” Ultimately, it’s Reed’s pure ability combined with his passion for the game that will dictate his future success at Binghamton. If this season is at all the beginning of an upward trend, Reed will be giving his competitors headaches for a long time.
ZS: What are your plans for the future? JW: Well right now I am focusing on my economics major. I would eventually like to work on Wall Street one day. ZS: Who is your favorite econ. professor? JW: Kenny Christianson. I really enjoy his up-and-down style. ZS: Are there any accomplishments on or off the court that you are particularly proud of? JW: I was able to make the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.75. I’m constantly working hard on and off the court, and it’s starting to really pay off. ZS: Who would you pick to be on your team for a five-on-five [pick-up] game in the NBA? JW: I would pick Carmelo Anthony because he is an unstoppable scorer, Lebron James to dominate all aspects of the game, Tyson Chandler to anchor my defense and Kyrie Irving to run the show. ZS: Why do you like basketball? JW: It gets me away from school, stress and problems. There are no worries when I’m playing ball, just fun. ZS: What was your funniest basketball moment? JW: When I was 6 years old, one of my friends just started playing ball. I passed the ball to him, but he scored on his own basket. It was his first bucket ever, so he started jumping around, but then we told him what happened. He went home and never played basketball ever again. Also, one time in high school my friend was on a fast break and all of a sudden threw up.
Brian Freeman junior forward
ZS: Do you have any especially memorable moments this year? BF: Game against New Hampshire. It was the first time the whole year I felt like people in the crowd had a chance to see what I could do. ZS: What are your plans for the future? BF: Change the dynamics of the way we view society around the world, through basketball and literature. I would like to advance myself in the game where I can be in a situation to be influential and write about my experiences, the good and bad. I want to be a support base where people want to relate to me. ZS: Jordan [Reed] freestyles. Do you have any hidden talents? BF: Write poetry. My material is not yet published, but I would like it to be. ZS: When were you first able to dunk? BF: When I was 13. ZS: What [is] the greatest lesson [that] being a sociology major has taught you? BF: Probably that we are all the same, no matter what. No matter what we look like, where we put our priorities in society, you are always going to be the same person, socioeconomically and politically. One person doesn’t have more value than the next person. Because of capitalism we don’t see that, because we are taught to look at the world from a stratified perspective, but not a one worldly perspective. We live in a plethora of world perspectives, but there is only one.
Taylor Johnston senior forward
ZS: How have you grown since freshman year? TJ: Athletically and socially, by coming to America and excelling in a very different situation. Life back home in Canada was a lot slower pace and laid back. New York is very fast-paced. ZS: What are your plans for the future? TJ: Basketball-wise, I always want to be around the game. Maybe be a coach one day. I’m pursuing [my] master’s and applying to Binghamton, Virginia Commonwealth, Miami, Buffalo and Ohio University graduate schools. ZS: What was your most memorable game of your young career? TJ: It was a high school game. After scoring only 10 points at halftime, I ended up scoring 48 points, 14 3-pointers and three 2-pointers, for the game. ZS: What is something that most people don’t know about Taylor Johnston that you would like to share? TJ: My stepfather and I have been working on a business project that we are planning on launching at the end of the summer. Further details coming.