The Afternoon Pickup Crew

Photo by Nate Plating

Photo by Nate Plating

The Covenant College men's basketball team is a on a tear. They’ve put together a couple of lengthy win streaks, average around 80 points per game as a team, and before losing a single conference game, put up 10 wins a row, tying their best conference record in over a decade.

Throughout all this, sophomore forward Will Crumly (‘21) has put up some huge numbers, averaging 22 ppg and 9 rpg 17 games into the season. The team has kept games exciting, sometimes blowing teams out and other times bringing them down to the wire only to secure the win in the final moments. But through all this, this thrilling and inspiring basketball, some have been forced to ask: is this really the best mens basketball being played at Covenant right now? And it would be foolish to answer this question without first exploring who else aside from the team is out there, day in and day out, grinding on the hardwood.

One week into the spring semester, fresh off a Christmas break of resting those legs and perfecting that silky smooth jumper, a group of boys, past and present Covenant students, gathered together in the Ashe Activity Center and played what is perhaps the best basketball Court 3, the far one, has ever seen. This group has been playing together for a while, familiarizing themselves with each others’ strengths and weaknesses. This familiarity has forced them to grow their games in order to compliment their teammates and exploit their opposition. So, yeah, they’re pretty good together.

Game 1 starts off. Aaron Anand (‘21), a shooting guard, immediately takes off up and down and back up the court. He’s spent the past months training his body to handle the demand of the run and gun offense facilitated by guard Ryan Rhodes (‘21). Rhodes quickly finds a rebound, secures it, and looks up court, finding Anand blazing down the sideline for an open layup, smoking the entire defense before they even knew it.

Soon the players begin to find a groove—Neil McCarthy (‘19) stringing together a series of moves before knocking down a three pointer, Isaac Parker (‘20) embarrassing the defense on his way to an acrobatic finish around the basket, and Will Kirkpatrick (‘20) dishing out Nikola Jokic-esque dimes. And it goes on and on. Stories of the Kaufmann brothers linking up for some rousing team basketball are limitless.

The experiences on this court have been felt and heard, smelled and seen. So, next time you’re getting ready to see the men’s basketball team boot crunch another conference opponent, take a second, and check Ashe Court 3, the far one, and make sure you’re not missing out on something truly excellent: the afternoon pickup crew.