Photo of the club basketball team. Photo by Batten.
Jack Batten | Contributing Writer
It’s almost 11 p.m. and a van full of road-weary UD students are pulling into a metro Pittsburgh Holiday Inn. Moments later, the driver reports: “Sorry, guys. This is the wrong hotel. We’re on the other side of town.”
Such is the nomadic basketball life of the UD club basketball team, a group of 15 UD students who are doing all they can to continue their basketball career.
“I knew I would not be able to play Division I basketball at a powerhouse like UD,” club player Bryce Roberts said. “Being a member of the basketball club team really is the next best thing.”
“It means a lot to travel to places like Columbus and Cincinnati and see fans sitting in the bleachers to watch our games,” he added.
Every member of the team has a noticeable skill; some have great handles but aren’t tall enough to play D1, and others have the height but not the post moves or quite enough athleticism. Still, to watch a 40 minute game is to leave knowing these guys are among the best players the campus has to offer.
President Sean Loughran, vice president Danny Grieve and treasurer Drew Kozak make up the club team’s executive board.
Loughran, a senior, is in his first season as president. He joined the club in the fall of 2021, serving as vice president during that season.
“I first learned about club basketball while attending Up the Orgs as a freshman,” Loughran said. Up the Orgs is an annual on-campus organization fair where students have the opportunity to learn about the various clubs and organizations at UD.
Loughran was a walk-on for the UD team as a freshmen in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic derailed so many things, including the number of roster spots the team could afford. However, this did not sour his mood on the sport.
Figuring club basketball was the next best option, he decided to join the team and hasn’t looked back. Loughrans’ competitiveness and love for team camaraderie has made his time in the club a huge success.
Loughran and Grieve held tryouts for the team during the first week of September. With interest in the club increasing each year, the two leaders of the club conducted several rounds of tryouts at the RecPlex.
“I really enjoy attending practice with the team,” Loughran said. “We have a great group of competitive guys, which makes for a lot of fun practices.”
The team, practices every Monday and Tuesday from 9 to 11 p.m. on a reserved court in the RecPlex. These practices usually consist of ball handling and shooting drills for the first hour. The latter half is for 5-on-5 games where competition is at its highest.
Of course, these intersquad battles are in preparation for the real thing— games against other schools. UD club basketball competes in the Great Lakes Conference, specifically, in the east division. The conference includes in-state rivals such as Xavier, Ohio State and Wright State. UD currently sits at 4-6.
Loughran said he and the rest of the team always looks forward to going up against Xavier and Wright State.
“We have played those guys a lot over the last few seasons, and it is always a battle,” he said.
As for the enjoyment of the sport, it all boils down to the unity of the team.
“Besides the competition aspect of basketball, playing as a team has always drawn me to the sport,” Loughran said.
With senior players graduating each and every year, the club is always looking for new members when tryouts roll around in September. Those interested in becoming a part of the team can learn more information at Up The Orgs during the first week of school in August.