Role Players

May 12, 2020

Sports, Postscript

By Matthew Dewald
With no seniors on the roster, the leaders of this year’s 24-7, NCAA tourney-hopeful team were its juniors. Like a good chess piece, each one moved according to his role but with common purpose. Take note, Atlantic 10 and Division I: They’re all expected back next season and already showing up in preseason top-25 rankings.

1.) Nick Sherod | The Thinker
A student of broad interests and a player whose intense preparation makes his long-distance shooting look preternatural. He’s the one in the gym shooting trey after trey, making adjustment after adjustment, hour after hour. 

2.) Nathan Cayo | The Soldier
A physically imposing and tight-lipped presence who lets his play do the talking. His stern demeanor might make him inscrutable to opponents, but his talent and fearlessness buoy the team whenever he’s marching down the court.

3.) Jordan Gaitley | The Legislator
Can talk to anyone — and does. Likable to every constituency, host of every gathering, everyone’s best friend. The glue-man who brings everyone together on the bus, in the locker room, and everywhere else he goes.

4.) Blake Francis | The Obstacle
Single-minded with ferocious focus. A shutdown artist capable of smothering the ambitions of any ballhandler. Opposing players might look at his 6-foot frame and think, “I’m bigger than him.” Those players are wrong.

5.) Grant Golden | The Olympian
Broad-shouldered and follicly blessed, he’s a chiseled 6'10" pillar who plays with the grit of a 5'10" walk-on. He’s the one talking in the huddle in every timeout, the patriarch of the team.

6.) Jacob Gilyard | The Burglar
He’s gone with the ball before you know he was there. The Spiders’ top career stealer was also the nation’s best this season. Cunning and deceptive, he’ll score on you, steal your inbounds pass, and score again.

7.) Sullivan Kulju | The Jester
Keeps everyone loose; the player most likely to make everyone else laugh. When big plays happen, he’s the one down the bench with the consistently can’t-miss celebrations.