By Jalil Dixon
As everyone knows up to this point, COVID-19 has had and continues to have a huge impact on all walks of life — college basketball is no exception.
York College of Pennsylvania’s (YCP) men’s basketball coach Matt Hunter reflected last week on how this pandemic continues to affect the team and its operations.
Following YCP’s Jan. 12 memo stating that YCP’s men’s basketball team would not have a season, spring 2021 marks the second consecutive semester where this has been the case. The players themselves have not been able to meet frequently either and practice together.
According to Coach Hunter, the team has only met about 15 times since the start of the fall 2020 semester. On the bright side of things, March 2 marks the first day that the team is able to practice and compete with each other outside of routine shooting drills due to the newly implemented COVID-testing protocols. Coach Hunter states that he’s excited just to get around the players more in the next two months.
While stuck in this strange place where no one knows what the future holds, Coach Hunter is trying to use their limited time together simply “for the love of the game.” He is working with his team to help everyone get better individually and also make progress on key things as a team. One of his biggest priorities with the team is to “just re-find that joy and that fire that we’ve all been missing over the last 12 months.”
According to Coach Hunter, there’s been no word and no communication in regards to the potential of a season later this year. Despite this, he finds it essential that the team moves forward on a daily basis as if there will be a season. Maintaining this mentality helps the team stay focused and in game-shape as much as reasonably possible, he said.
When asked how has it been trying to establish those crucial relationships with his freshmen, he noted that everyone’s just missing that human interaction and the way that it is now is “just not the way it’s supposed to work.”
One of the biggest byproducts of this pandemic, however, is that all players nationwide, including seniors who have had their Senior Day moment taken away from them, are now presented with an extra year of eligibility due to this canceled season. This changes the landscape of everything from recruiting to roster management. “This creates an interesting situation,” Coach Hunter said, “for really the next three, four years — not just at York College, but everywhere in college basketball.”
So while there has been no word of a season yet, and whether or not fellow Spartans can attend, everyone will just have to stay buckled in on this wild ride and wait with hope that there will be a season.
Jalil Dixon is a Professional Writing major with an anticipated graduation in spring 2023.