SNHU Men’s Basketball Team (image courtesy: Ross Cooperstein)

“One thing that’s still the same is the game,” said Corry Long, SNHU Men’s Basketball’s senior guard for the 2021 season.

Directly after a competitive 2019-2020 season, the SNHU men’s basketball team has been apart since March when COVID-19 hit the United States. The NE10 decided to suspend winter sports until December 30, pending the team’s return. If approved for January, the Penmen are to begin their awaited season.

It’s no secret that being apart from your teammates after spending every day with each other is an arduous feat, but the team is keeping spirits high and not losing hope on their time to shine. “The hardest part of being at home for me is not being able to play basketball and being away from my teammates and friends at school,” said junior guard Mikey Buscetto. He continues, “A few of my teammates and I have met up in Boston and New Hampshire just to stay connected.” The Penmen are still finding ways to stay linked even when they live all over the country.

Given very little time to bond and begin practicing, a projected return of just one and a half weeks before their first game, the team has a lot to accomplish in a short period of time. They have been working on their individual skills in their respective hometowns for months and continue to work on improving themselves for another competitive season even while they’re apart.

“Even with everything up in the air right now we still prepare as if we are having a season so everything we’re talking about is as if we will be on campus within two and a half to three weeks. We all know it’s a possibility that we can’t play but our mindsets are ‘we’re ready to play’,” said Long.

Long continues, “Our mindset is, once we get together, we need to mesh and be able to play with each other as if we were practicing for months. That’s our biggest thing. We’re just waiting to get with each other. We are communicating, we are still staying in touch with each other, but we really need to get as close as a team quicker than ever.”

The Penmen have eight new faces on their roster, making this transition a little more challenging as a team. The biggest piece of knowledge that is missing is the team’s weaknesses since they do not know how they play and work together, said Long. However, what they do know is their strength as a team.

“Our biggest strength as a team this season is how deep our bench goes. We have a full roster of guys that trust each other and will mold very well together,” said Buscetto, giving a positive outlook on this year’s new team during an otherwise negative circumstance.

The team has stayed in touch with each other via Zoom and with Head Coach Jack Perri, breaking into groups and discussing the season. Along with the discussion, the team has been following workout and fitness plans to be ready for the winter. “Our coaching staff has done a great job sending us workout packets and conditions packets that we can follow to stay in shape and stay ready,” said Buscetto.

With positive mindsets and hard work since March, the guys are ready to tackle the season ahead.