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The time I tried to walk onto the men's basketball team

By Max Sass, Sports Editor

Every college student has a list of the quintessential things they want to do before they graduate. My list, which will be presented in a future article, included trying out for the men's basketball team here at Hofstra. I achieved my goal.

On Monday, Oct. 25, I showed up to the Mack Arena for open tryouts to be a walk-on for the 2010-11 Hofstra Pride.

Before I tell you how the tryout went, allow me to explain the pros and cons of why I should be on the team.

Pros:

  • I have no expectation to actually play, therefore taking no time away from Charles Jenkins or other good players.
  • There would be a ton of publicity in it for the team. What better way is there to promote a team to the student body than to have the Sports Editor of the campus newspaper as part of the team?
  • I like to lighten the mood. When the team goes on a losing streak, I would be sure to keep things light and upbeat in practice.
  • I am a hustle based player. I understand that I am not there to drain threes and dunk on Denzel Bowles, so my mentality would be focused on being a scrappy player and playing great defense. How many players on the current team have devoted their basketball career to setting picks, diving for loose balls and annoying the hell out of good players on the other team on defense? The answer is none, unless they were to include me.
  • I am all about winning. Whatever it takes to get that ‘W' I am down for. I will run as many stadium steps as necessary (though it may take me longer than anyone else) to get in shape to win. I also would be a valuable asset to the coaching staff, as you learn a lot more from the sideline.

Cons:

  • I am out of shape and have no actual basketball skill.
  • I am a 5'9" tall, overweight, white kid who cannot dribble well and made his money in rec leagues grabbing rebounds over even less athletic players.

Now, much to my surprise (and I assume a shock to all my loyal readers and fans out there) I did not make the team. While I never officially received a ‘no' from the team, it was pretty well understood that I would not be asked back to the next tryout.

I am very grateful for the time assistant coach Wayne Morgan (who ran the tryout) and director of men's basketball operations Kyle Steinway gave to me. Morgan had the four participants warm up, stretch and run a bit before we played two-on-two.

I missed both of the shots from the field that, but I performed (what I thought was) a gorgeous low post move to give myself a decent opportunity to hit a shot.

We played two games to five and my biggest realization was not that I am a bad basketball player (I could have told you that already) but more that my lifestyle is not conducive to the constant running of basketball. Who would have thought that stuff college students do on weekends do not mesh with being in shape and running up and down a basketball court?

Despite this speed bump in my quest to become a Division I athlete, I promise you that I will continue to persevere. I will stay on as Sports Editor of The Chronicle for now, but the next time an opportunity comes along, I will be on that court giving my all (or whatever part of me is left from the previous weekend).

Plus, Morgan, who had previous led Iowa St. to the NCAA Tournament complimented me on the court. Too bad he was complimenting my firm handshake as I was walking off.

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