It is often said that if you love something you have to let it go. While this is a poetic sentiment, it does not detract from the affliction of having to say goodbye. Though the notion of sacrifice for many college athletes is simply a matter of routine practice, there is one surrender in every athlete’s journey that arguably poses a greater challenge than the rest. For six players on the Drew men’s basketball team, the mournful affair of parting ways with their beloved college sport became a bittersweet reality on senior day.
Senior day saw masses of Drew students both past and present gathering together to celebrate the senior and fifth-year players’ final home game. A sense of nostalgia clung to the air as players Howard McBurnie Jr. (‘23), Mario Haklaj (‘23), Matthew Capozzoli (‘23), Micheal Kane (‘23), Kyle Cassidy (‘23) and Luis De Leon Brumer (‘23) all stepped out on the court alongside their friends and family to mark the end of their college basketball journey. These players have shaped the team and proven their continuous dedication to their sport time and time again. Each of the players will be leaving behind a memorable and prosperous legacy in which their impact on the team will remain an integral part of Drew’s basketball history.
Coach Michael McSloy expressed his gratitude for the unwavering commitment of the senior players, stating that he “will miss their leadership and how they showed up ready to work hard every day.” McSloy also revealed the significance that senior day held for him as a coach.
“This year’s senior day will always be a fond memory of mine. All six seniors played, scored and I thought it was a great representation of their time together at Drew. Howie scoring his 1,000th point, to Cap and Luis overcoming injuries and playing well. It was a great day for them,” McSloy said.
The senior day game saw the undeniable talent and profound passion of the senior players once again leading the team to a triumphant success, with the game ending with a score of 95-66. Their incredible athletic performances lit up the court and electrified the crowd. All six of the senior players displayed incredible sportsmanship and skill, with many of them achieving tremendous career highs, a rewarding reflection of their longstanding commitment to their sport.
McBurnie Jr. celebrated a monumental milestone with an unbelievable alley-oop dunk that marked his 1,000th point. McBurnie Jr. said, “I wouldn’t really consider myself a scorer, but I turned into one when I came to Drew and embraced the role. I just can’t thank my current and previous coaches and teammates enough for the constant support.”
The senior day game was the true embodiment of what it means to be involved in college sports. The intense highs and lows that seem to occur almost simultaneously is simply the beauty of college basketball. Though senior and fifth-year players may no longer be a part of the college team, basketball is a lifelong game, and the bond between teammates and coaches will last a lifetime.
Lauren McAullife is a first-year majoring in English and minoring in international relations.