Club team heads to Detroit

Erin Reback

The men’s club basketball team will be traveling to Detroit during the first weekend of April to compete in the NCCS National Basketball Championships. The trip will mark the team’s first trip to nationals.

“Making it to nationals is the ultimate goal,” said Captain Justin Green, a senior on the team. “We feel we have the talent in each area of the game in order to win nationals.”

The team made it to regionals last year but lost in the Final Four.

More determined than ever, the team made it to Regionals again this year. It played teams from Boston University, Marist College, Sacred Heart University and Cornell University.

Ultimately, Villanova beat American International College from Massachusetts to win regionals. In addition, sophomore Nick De Luca and junior Damian Long both earned spots on the All-Tournament team.

A total of eight teams will be competing at nationals this year including the University of Georgia and the University of Missouri.

The eight attending teams all won their respective regional tournament. These teams are not ranked against one another.

The championship game will be held on April 5 and will be televised.

“We are confident we will be playing in that game,” Green said.

The men’s club basketball team has only existed for two years.

“We started off as an intramural team of ten current seniors,” Green said. “We tried to become a club team in 2005 but we didn’t get off the ground until 2007. It took a lot of paperwork and patience.”

In addition to filling out paperwork, the team had to find itself a faculty advisor. This year, however, the team is completely student-run.

“We have an executive board with a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary and that is it,” President Matt Cali said.

Being such a young team and being student-run has its advantages and disadvantages.

“It can be hard to get people to practice,” Green said. “We have the gym Monday and Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight and Friday afternoons.”

Still, there is a lot to be said for being student-run.

“We are a very close-knit group,” Cali said.

The friendly environment is one of the most attractive qualities of the team.

“I played basketball in high school and wanted to continue in college,” freshman Dallas Ouano said. “By joining the club team, I am able to play in a competitive environment with a great group of guys.”

The team is associated with the East Coast League and travels to east coast colleges to compete.

“All the teams communicate with each other in order to organize games and tournaments,” Cali said.

In November, Villanova hosted its first club basketball tournament and won.

“We are like scavengers when it comes to looking for teams to play,” Green said.

“Luckily, teams are always hosting tournaments,” Cali added.

Traveling up and down the east coast is expensive and during its first year of existence, the team did not receive school funding.

“We had to prove ourselves worthy before the school would officially recognize us,” Green said.

Even though the team now receives funds, it still relies on fundraising to produce money for trips, including the trip to Nationals.

Sometime within the next two weeks, the team will be hosting a dinner catered entirely by the Italian restaurant Maggiano’s. The dinner will be held in Bartley Hall and it will cost $10 per plate.

The team’s ten seniors, nine juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen are all dedicated to earning money for the trip. More importantly, they are all devoted to playing hard and coming back to Villanova as champions.

The team will be hosting tryouts in the fall.

“Anyone who enjoys basketball and likes to have fun both on and off the court is encouraged to attend tryouts,” Cali said.