November 29, 2011
With another convincing win over division rival, Staten Island, the Connecticut Topballerz have entered into unprecedented territory for a first year team as the seventh-ranked team in the Nation. In front of a capacity-filled crowd, Bobby Moore and company led the Topballerz to their second lopsided victory of the season, 116-95. The score was actually nowhere near indicative of how in control the Topballerz were from midway through the first quarter until the final buzzer.
In preparation for their second game of the season, the Topballerz coaching staff looked to implement a few new plays, defensive schemes and an improved press-breaker in preparation for the Vipers’ athletic backcourt. Though Thanksgiving fell on Thursday of the practice week and most schools were closed to the public, the dedication and determination were evident as the Topballerz Coaching Staff managed to squeeze in three practices at three different locations over the week. “In my experience as a ball-player and coach, I have seen players take these Holiday weeks off mentally and drag in practice. This was not the case as our players showed up ready to play. I keep saying it, but this team is and will be truly special” stated LSU Alumni and Topballerz Assistant Coach Maurice Williamson!
“Something we preach to our players is that practice should be so hard and tough, that the games literally feel easy in comparison” noted Coach Huston. He then went on to speak of the player’s effort, hustle and “hunger” throughout each practice. “Practice is where we get better. Practice is how we will eventually become the number one team in the Nation. Practice is that necessary evil to not only having a winning season, but also, building a winning organization” (Huston).
As the practice week commenced, it was evident who would be the spotlight player of the week…Shawn Ustunel. Shawn, better known by his teammates as “Turk” for his roots in Turkey, is a very unique player. At 6 foot 7 inches tall and the frame of a lineman, Turk is often stereotyped as a classic big man. However, after watching 2 minutes of Turk’s play, any basketball fan will realize that there is a lot more to Turk’s game than just posting up and rebounding. “Turk is the prototypical pick and pop player. He has great range and an extremely soft-touch for a ball-player his size” stated Assistant Coach Jim Cornish. In addition to his ability to pull opposing defenders away from the lane and hit the open jumper, Turk is a workhorse. He has a non-stop motor that fuels him to crash the boards, chase after loose balls and play the help-side defense that is necessary for any team to win. As a University of New Haven graduate, “Turk not only gives us the interior size that makes us a nightmare to match up with, but his ability to hit the open three gives an entirely different dimension to the team that makes us a force to be reckoned with! His talents, his amazing attitude and work-ethic are why we are excited to name Turk our spotlight player of the week!
Connecticut Topballerz – “Where Winning is a Habit, Success is a Choice!”