Relationships Between Coaches and Players Advance Flourishing Falcons

The superior achievements of three fifth-year players are a result of coaches' ability to communicate

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By ALY GLENN

Three fifth-year players from the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team attribute their outstanding seasons to having deeper relationships with the coaching staff.

The Falcons recently swept a two-game homestand against Vancouver Island University Mariners, as the Falcons defeated the Mariners 81-79 last Friday and 91-83 last Saturday.

The Falcons are now 13-11 this season.

Last Saturday on senior night, fifth-year forward Moeiz Athaya led the Falcons with 28 points. Athaya, who returned to play last Friday after injuring his hip flexor two weeks ago, became the Pacific Western Athletic Association’s all-time men’s basketball scoring leader last November with 1,461 points. Point guard Royce Sargeant, who is averaging over 20 points per game this season, eclipsed the 1,000-points mark last December.

Cassidy Kennemeyer, the Falcons first-year head coach, acknowledged the team’s results have been inconsistent.

“We had turnover from the first semester to the second semester with players leaving because of grades and injuries,” Kennemeyer said.

Coach is building unity among players

Kennemeyer is creating a sense of community with his players.

“Our relationship is built by respect,” Kennemeyer said. “I respect them, they respect me, and then we can be ourselves around each other.”

Assistant coach Chris Schneller, who attends practices twice per week, is improving the team’s results by tracking the team’s statistics, while creating and sending the team PDFs of opposing teams’ statistics. Schneller said the team is absorbing Kennemeyer’s knowledge while adapting to his new coaching system. He said Kennemeyer has prioritized the “x’s and the o’s,” which include pre-game huddles and drawing whiteboard diagrams during timeouts.

“He’s a detail-driven leader,” Schneller said. “The team has really started to understand his method for teaching,”

Sargeant, who played against Kennemeyer’s Capilano University team when Sargeant played for Kwantlen University, said the coach has made his final season enjoyable.

“He’s been super accommodating,” Sargeant said. “He’s just made my last season as easy as possible.”

Fifth-year guard Jamar Ergas, who began his college career playing in NCAA Division 1 at Washington State University, “guest-coached” briefly with Kennemeyer at University of Fraser Valley.

“It attracted me to come over here to finish up my Canadian basketball years,” Ergas said.

Ergas is optimistic about the progress of the younger players, while accepting responsibility for his role with encouraging their improvement.

“This is the learning curve,” Ergas said. “It’s a lot of teaching on our end,”

Schneller said the team has had to reevaluate its roster due to players’ injuries. He said the verbal guidance from the fifth-year players impacts the younger players, who respond when the words “comes out of the leaders’ mouths.”

Star player receives recognition

Most of the team is composed of first- and second-year students. Athaya said the relationship between younger and older players is a key to the team’s success.

Athaya acknowledges the attention he receives as a star on the team.

“They look up to me,” Athaya said. “Everything I do, I’m kind of being watched.”

 

Moeiz Athaya interview with cover. Video by Aly Glenn

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