Editorial: Basketball team reflects entire University



The men’s basketball team is a direct reflection of the University: its members exhibit unparallelled character and commitment–both to their teammates and to the University community as a whole.

The members of the men’s basketball team are of the highest level of character.  Jay Wright has hand-picked a collection of professional, humble, hard-working, honorable individuals for his team, and even Wright himself exemplifies these qualities. Wright’s humility was especially evident in his reverent reaction to the team’s dramatic win against UNC. The team’s characteristic scrappy defense is a physical manifestation of the strength of their collective work ethic. The team’s academic integrity is a testament to their honor: it is alleged that Wright benches players who fail to produce academically and the team has yet to commit the acts of academic dishonesty typical of many top sports programs.  The qualities possessed by the team—professional, humble, hard-working and honorable—are the same qualities emphasized by the University.

The members of the men’s basketball team exhibit an astounding degree of commitment—both to their team and the University community at large. Team members place team goals ahead of individual goals. Ryan Arcidiacono’s pass to Kris Jenkins at the end of the championship game is evidence of this. As a senior four-year captain and the son of Nova alumni, making that final shot would have been a fairytale ending for him—but he passed the ball, and did so for the benefit of the team. This season’s team had no single standout player, and the basketball program valued this. The highest-scoring player varied greatly from game to game: in the last three games, for example, it was Jenkins, followed by Josh Hart then Phil Booth. If one were to ask each University student who the best player on the team is, there would be no consensus—each player contributes proportionally. Wright is also known for his lack of propensity to recruit future lottery picks. The team is about long-term investments.  A hallmark of the team—one that sets it apart from other big names in basketball—is that it is a four-year program. The organization boasts a top graduation rate. The players want to be here—they stay put for the betterment of the team and the opportunity to be a part of the University community, and they refuse to run away to the NBA whenever they see a chance. This commitment to community—this idea that the whole is greater than  the individual—is embedded in University life.

Just as the basketball team exhibits extraordinary commitment, they incite in the student body an exceptional level of reciprocal commitment.  University students know the members of the men’s basketball team far beyond their game statistics.  The “Bench Mob” even has a sizeable, spirited following. Students generally disinterested in sports engage in the basketball culture because it unites students around a common cause. This is unitas in action.

The men’s basketball team brings out the best in University.  Its members, unparallelled in character and commitment, reflect in a very visible and tangible way the intangible spirit of the University —one students get to experience each day as a part of the campus community.