The Highs and Lows of D2 Competition During an Unusual Seaon
By: Maxmillian Robinson
Being a college athlete is no easy task. There are only so many athletes who are fortunate to compete in high school. Even fewer, if selected to compete at a higher level, move on to play collegiately. Competing after college is when some players are considered part of the elite few.
So, how did some of our Panther athletes end up playing for the Brown and Gold?
“After my last year of being in the Amateur Athletic Union, I had gained some attention from some coaches and I had received three scholarship offers,” said men's basketball player Ronnie Silva. “I didn’t achieve any major accolades in high school. I got my recognition from my team winning in AAU tournaments.”
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), is a nationwide program that helps players from all skill ranges to compete in national tournaments and receive more exposure with the hope of playing collegiately, even professionally.
Silva, a former AAU player, said that without his recognition from being on a winning team outside of high school basketball, he may not have been recognized the way he is today.
Other athletes have a different story to tell in their recruitment process.
“The recruitment process for me in high school was very interesting,” said women's basketball player Katie Murphy. “I was actually being recruited for cross country, basketball and lacrosse. Being all-state in cross country and all-county in all three of my sports (cross country, basketball and lacrosse), I was noticed by a lot of different coaches for all levels of play.”
Murphy was also fortunate enough to win the Dellecave Award, which is awarded to the top female and male student athletes in Suffolk County, New York, where she resided.
Why did these athletes ultimately choose Adelphi?
“I felt like it was the best decision for me financially, academically and with basketball,” Silva said. “When I visited campus as a senior in high school, I fell in love with it and being close to New York City. Coming to Adelphi was an experience that I was looking forward to and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
“I decided to choose Adelphi because I wanted to pair great academics with great athletics,” Murphy said. “The NE-10, which is our conference, is one of the most competitive conferences in the nation and the appeal of the Honors College allowed me to fulfill my academic goals. I am close to home (about 40 minutes away), and the class sizes were very small. I like to get to know my professor and this was a great fit for me.”
While adjusting to the college curriculum academically can be difficult, how much more difficult would it be to balance that with playing against better competition athletically?
“The biggest transition was the speed of the game in college basketball and lifting weights,” Silva said. “Through playing and watching film, I got to analyze my individual game and begin to slow the game down in my mind. With lifting, I never had a strength trainer like Keith [Ferrara] that pushed me and educated me in the weight room, and I began to see real progress in my game.”
“The biggest adjustment for me was just the physicality of the play,” Murphy said. “Going against older and stronger players allowed me to adjust to that kind of style and build my own strength.”
Being a student athlete takes a lot of skill, and each Panther player brings a unique perspective to their game.
“The quality that helped me to be successful at this level is to be curious,” Silva said. “I’m always asking myself how I can be a better player, a better teammate, a better student, a better leader and a better person everyday. Then, I would put in the effort to turn those flaws into strengths.”
Murphy said: “Some key qualities that helped me to become successful at this level was definitely staying confident in myself and working as hard as I can. These are long seasons, and they could feel like you are riding a roller coaster, so staying level-headed and confident really helps. I also think my work ethic has helped me to become successful. I strive to be the hardest worker on and off the court, and I train and study to help make that possible.”