Farewell Senior Athletes

College, while you’re in it you find yourself saying, “I’m over this” or “I can’t wait to move on with my life.” I remembered saying this during my sophomore and junior years. Being a student athlete even more pressure is put on seniors aside from graduation day; this pressure is called Senior Night, and it forced you to reflect on your college career.

I started my freshman year of college at Valparaiso University. After having a good freshman year but feeling homesick, I left Indiana and flew back home to California to play at a community college called Citrus College due to a rough academic year at VU. I strived hard to receive my AA in Kinesiology; we went on to be conference champions for the third straight year but unexpectedly lost in the semifinals game against Saddleback. What I understood about my team is that when we put our heads and hearts in the same basket full of goals, we had the best experience I’ve had in my life, and I fell in love with a family away from my family. Initially following this season, I committed to Cal State Fullerton in California but I heard about a fellow Citrus player in Hawaii playing for Chaminade University of Honolulu; his name is Steven Bennett.

After hearing about Chaminade, Steve, The Maui Invitational and Hawaii, I was sold, so I left CSUF to come to the island of Hawaii. Steve and I clicked instantly, being from similar backgrounds of Citrus and the LA life as well as our passion for the game. In 2010 we got the sixth win in Maui history alongside my current teammates Waly Coulibaly, Dominique Cooks and Bennie Murray. We also had enough talent to come in first place in the PacWest Conference, but talent was all we had but needed more to advance out of the Regional Tournament.

I will miss all of my teammates: Bennie and his growth as a player from when I first met him, Dominique and his leadership, Waly and his funny side comments. It’s been a great journey with this team and I know that we’re not finished yet. I’m going to miss jamming to music from Mali on road trips with Darko Vukasovic and Waly.

I don’t expect to play ball forever so I’m praying that we will win at least 10 more games to end the season.

Senior Night was one of the best nights I’ve seen at CUH thus far. Emotions were high from the 82-88 lost to our cross-town rivals Hawaii Pacific University, but we had to keep our poise and realize what the night entailed. To look on the bright side, CUH event coordinators put on an amazing event for our last game in the McCabe Gym. I’ve never been in such a humbling position to be lei’d by so many dedicated fans, family and friends. The night helped me reflect on the successes and failures I’ve been through to get to the point I was in now as well as the people who encourage you, the family that challenges you and the significance of friends that push you when you don’t feel as though you can go any further.

Even though we didn’t win the game, completing four years of college basketball is much more fulfilling. And it’s not over yet. Our teams will play again later this week on Thursday in the first ever PacWest Conference Tournament.