Basketball Team Thrives
Many people were surprised when The New School formed a basketball team earlier in the semester, and now an even more surprising thing has happened: they’re winning. Last time we checked in on the team, its first season was about to begin. Tryouts yielded a higher turnout than anticipated and allowed for organizers to be more selective when forming the team. In fact, most of the athletes that made the team have experience on previous college teams, such as Payton Mitchell, who played for Morgan State in Baltimore. Four games into the spring season, our elite eight proved to be a legitimate team and a force to be reckoned with cliché; stealing passes and crossing over defenders has led them to a successful 3 wins to 1 loss start to open the season.
Their record speaks for itself, but what even the students who show up at the games don’t see are the peculiar inner workings of the team. Although a basketball team, not to mention a successful one, seems like the last thing The New School would have, it is apparent that the guys haven’t forgotten their unconventional roots. Alex Knapp, forward and center, is not only one of the team’s big men working hard in the paint to block shots and secure rebounds, but he is also the team’s unofficial coach.
“I simply put the team together, entered them into to the league, I schedule practices and assist in game time decisions in terms of substitutions and timeouts," said Michael McQuarrie, director of recreation and intramural sports. "Alex runs the practices and is the closest thing to a ‘coach’ they have right now.”
Knapp and the rest of the guys are up every Friday morning at the Chelsea Piers practicing for their Tuesday games at the YMCA. There is one other team in the YMCA league, however, that resembles the New School team – the New York Institute of Technology, which is also comprised exclusively of full-time, degree seeking students that made The New School victory last week against NYIT all the sweeter.
“We felt it was a good way to see how we stack up against other schools and not just random teams of adult men,” said Knapp. “I see the YMCA league as a whole, the first step in non-intramural sports, but the NYIT game an even bigger step in that direction.”
At its core, the basketball team is like many other teams out there. Knapp said that the players have great chemistry and is glad that his teammates appear to have as much fun off the court poking fun at each other as they do playing.
“We have a genuine will to win,” said Knapp. “We are riding a three-game winning streak and we have a lot confidence and momentum heading into next week's game and the rest of the season.”