[Editor’s Note: Jordan Bellitti is a transfer student who came to Lesley from Curry. A sophomore, majoring in Children, Youth and Family Studies, he was the men’s basketball team’s third highest scorer this year.]
Men’s basketball at Lesley is still relatively new: in fact, it was only twelve years ago that the first games were played. Since then, there have been a number of positive moments, and a lot of outstanding players. And whether we win or lose, our coaches teach us discipline, teamwork, and leadership; they encourage us to pursue excellence, and not be discouraged when we fail. In fact, failure can be a learning experience: it teaches us to adapt, drive forward, and figure out how to channel feelings of discontent into motivation, which is key to success, whether on the court or in the classroom.
This season was not a total failure, but it wasn’t a total success either. Unlike last year, when we had a winning record, this year, we finished 13-14 over all, although we did break even in NECC play, going 7-7. And while we made it to the playoffs again this year, we were eliminated, as top-seeded Southern Vermont College defeated us 71-51. One of the biggest obstacles we faced this year was when one of our best players got injured; but even when that happened, we never gave up. We played hard all season. Our coach, Chris Giordano, told an interviewer that he was “extremely proud of the toughness, heart, and togetherness [the team] showed on and off the court.”
And that brings me to one of the key players on this team, someone who is graduating and deserves some praise for what he did for our team. I’m referring to guard Marquise Johnson. He was a leader on the team, and a role model for the younger players. He is someone who believes in hard work and dedication, and he embraces the challenges he faces. Studying business management and playing basketball for Lesley, he follows the motto, “Stick to your goals, and trust the process.”
Born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Marquise lived with his mother, step-dad and two brothers. He played basketball the first time in the 7th grade, and he knew right away that this was something he wanted to do in his future. He transferred from Bryant and Stratton to Lesley University as a sophomore, to study business management and play for the Lynx. This year Marquise will graduate with a business degree and finish his last season of college basketball. He plans to continue his basketball career overseas after graduation before jumping into his career as a businessman.
Marquise was one of two seniors on the roster. Playing two full seasons, he was one major reason why the Lynx made their first two playoff appearances ever. In those two seasons, Marquise averaged 11 points per game, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 3.5 assists per game. This year, he was the second leading scorer on the team. Falling short of his ultimate goal of winning a championship, Marquise still doesn’t regret anything. He gave one hundred percent in practice and in games. And he deserves to be remembered for what he did for men’s basketball at Lesley. we grew into a family with the adversity we faced. And everyone played a role on the team. We did the best we could.
While this season did not end the way we wanted it to, we all grew from it; we never let adversity stop us. Everyone contributed, and everyone had a role. Next year, we will take what we learned from this season, and we hope to make our fans proud.