Going into its second year as a recognized club sport, the Miami University men’s club basketball team is one group of men that is determined to rise through the ranks and earn itself national acclaim in the club sports realm.
Founders Ray Santo and Tyler Probst began the organization as a way to reestablish the competitive level of play they greatly enjoyed growing up playing ball and connect players on campus without an extreme amount of commitment. While they are a new team to the Mid-Western Club Basketball Conference they have managed to become one of the top competitors and fight to continue their yearlong undefeated status against local Ohio teams.
The team is comprised of 12 players. Most are upperclassmen who have managed to build a strong environment for success while keeping the overall attitude laid back yet still motivated.
“We are all individuals who come together to dominate the court at home and away,” senior Kyle Wells said. “One of our greatest characteristics is bringing our hometown styles to the Miami name.”
Both Wells and fellow senior Chris “The Hammer” Hamersley attribute their toughness to their Licking County background.
“We work to make every play fall into place, and remember to always have fun especially for us (seniors) as this is our last season on the team,” Hamersley said.
Thanks can be directed toward Santo and Probst whose desire to compose a team rooted from their longing to have team camaraderie and opponents who were not at the monotonous intramural level.
“We have been able to design a team that is multifaceted and it has allowed us to consider ourselves proficient in all aspects of play,” Santo said.
It has become apparent in the eyes of their opponents and ignited hunger for a national title in each of the Miami players.
“We are not going to settle for anything less than a title,” Wells said. “And with that attitude we are all giving our best in making that happen.”
One factor helping to make that happen is the advice and direction given by Head Coach Ron Siliko and Assistant Coach Dan Rambo, who have dedicated hours upon hours to ensure the team is ready to annihilate any opponent that crosses their path.
“The coaches have really helped to get everything running smoothly and that is apparent in our ability to close out teams and enjoy every aspect of being a part of the team,” Santo said.
One of the biggest influences the coaches have made is their ability to help co-presidents Santo and Probst instill consistency in the level of play, as it can often be hard to implement a regimented schedule in a relatively new team.
“In a short amount of time we have been able to compete against a number of universities and come out on top in the majority of those games,” Hamersley said.
As winter break creeps up on us, the team is looking forward to the down time but will definitely be returning in January with its burning desire to gain the crown of the Mid-Western Club Basketball Conference.
So goodbye 2009 and hello 2010, tune into the Miami men’s club basketball team, get to know the underground ballers and always be sure to get your club on!