As the only senior on men’s basketball team, providing leadership was key for Haimes

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Senior captain Daniel Haimes. Picture by Norwich Athletics

Every season has its ups and down. The Norwich men’s basketball team started off the year with a couple big wins, but then slowly started to lose momentum throughout the season and ended up 7-18 on the year.

However, there were signs of progress when Norwich hung on to win its last game against the Raiders of Rivier University by a 95-81 final score – with the team’s lone senior, Daniel Haimes going out on a high note on Senior Day.

The biggest struggles of the team this year were putting it all together for 40 minutes and competing the entire game – not unexpected for a very young team, said Haimes, 21, a shooting guard from Capistrano, Calif.

What often caused the team to lose games this year has been not being able to overcome adversity and continuing to fight to till the buzzer goes off. The best parts of the season have to be “simply making winning plays,” said Haimes, who was captain of the team. But he was encouraged by what he saw in 2018-19.

According to Haimes, although the team had “so many new freshmen on the team this year, the guys have really transitioned great from the high school level to the collegiate level.” College basketball is obviously a different level from high school play but Haimes “believe[s] they are on the right track for success in their last three years of collegiate basketball.”

Being around this group and playing basketball is always a lot of fun, according to Connor Miller, 21, a junior point guard from Sydney, Australia. “In saying this though, we have not had the year we wanted to.”

“This is mainly due to our play during the second semester as we have been struggling to put together a full 40-minute performance,” Miller said.

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Freshman forward Donovan Lewis, Jr. Picture by Norwich Athletics

Despite a tough season the team still had some good victories. “I believe the best win of the season this year has been our win (over) SUNY Delhi,” said Haimes, talking about the Dec. 30 matchup. The Cadets traveled to the Amsler Campus Center Gym and were able to beat the Broncos with a dominant 88-65 showing.

“We played for all 40 minutes, shared the basketball and did all the little things necessary to win.” Haimes said.

“I hope these guys can learn from the season and really put in the work in the summer and in the pre-season to be a contending team in the conference because this team has a ton of potential,” Haimes said.

The team this year did well when players understood that just one guy wasn’t handling all of the workload. “I think we are at our best when everyone is doing a little bit of everything,” agreed Daniel Bertrand, 21, a junior forward from Saugus, Mass..

Bertrand felt that “the team has played many good teams this year but the best would have to have been the defending GNAC champions, Johnson and Wales, they are a solid and well-coached basketball team.”

Miller appreciated Haimes work as the only senior with young players this year, noting “ the captain has done a good job shooting the ball and setting the tone around the group.” Miller said.

“He’s given a lot to the program and the least we could do is send him out with a win on senior night.” Miller’s sentiments reached the team as the Cadets played the full 40 minutes to pull out the last game of the season over Rivier.

“I’ve tried to prepare the team, be a great role model, and give them any piece of advice that they need in order for them to be successful,” Haimes explained of his role.

“He has lead from the front and really been valuable to some of the freshman/new guys,” Miller agreed.

While Haimes provided experiencd leadership, other guys on the team have stepped into the role as leaders as well, such as players like Bertrand and Kyle Booth, 19, a sophomore small forward from Northfield.

“As a junior going into my senior season next year, I just try to set a good example for the young guys to stick together, have each other’s back, push each other each day in practice keep working hard,” Bertrand said.

“I think that we set a good base this year for the future but I think as a sophomore I still have time to make a major impact,” said Booth.

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Freshman guard Caleb Casinas going for a fadeaway. Picture by Norwich Athletics

The ultimate goal is to set the standard of this program as a winning one, said Booth. “I’d love to get a conference title before I leave.”

Booth wishes for the team to start focusing on taking every game very seriously. “The season has been tough but we have young team so it’s all about learning.”

“The legacy I hope to leave with the Norwich men’s basketball program is to obtain the mentality of being gritty and competing,” Haimes said.

“I wish to just instill a sense of brotherhood and a sense of family within the program, always having the back of the guy to your left and to your right, no matter the good or the bad,” Haimes said.

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