By Najah Morgan and Christina Saniovich
Youngstown State University’s men’s basketball team is gearing up for its first game tonight against Thiel College.
The team is excited and eager for its first game of the season. However, there are a few players in particular that are extremely important leaders.
Garrett Covington, junior communication major, said he doesn’t think his large role on the team has changed a lot since freshman year. He said he had to play hard, play aggressive and play defense.
“I think I could add to the team by offensively helping as much as I can because I am a defense-minded person, so I have to make sure I play both ends of the ball,” he said.
Covington said he is working on attacking the rim as much as possible and playing hard is most important.
He hit a game-winning 3-pointer against The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers last season, and hit a huge buzzer beater against Oakland University Golden Grizzlies his freshman season.
Darius Quisenberry, sophomore sports broadcasting and communication major, said he is trying to improve on his leadership and defensive role.
Quisenberry led the team in points and assists last season as a freshman and was named to the All-Horizon League Second Team, as well as the All-Freshman Team. He said it’s important to play hard and take every opportunity.
“You have to come in everyday and work because nothing is given to you,” Quisenberry said. “Minutes and playing time is earned. The new guys are starting to figure out that coming in everyday and giving it their all is what’s expected of them.”
Nazihar Bohannon, junior business major, said his role has gotten larger because as a freshman coming in, he was learning about college basketball, but as he got to start in more games his role became more of a leader for the new players.
“You must have the ability to play hard,” Bohannon said. “That’s what’s important in college basketball. Just the speed of the game and not only that but how smart you have to be because every execution matters.”
He said he has been working on his offense during the offseason and being able to help others get better.
Bohannon finished second in the conference in rebounds in the 2018-2019 season and recorded his 500th career rebound.
Penguins coach Jerrod Calhoun said Bohannon and Covington have both grown as people on and off of the court.
Off the court, they are inseparable. The duo arrived on campus together, wanting to help establish and better the program.
“They both have done a really nice job of leading these guys everyday,” Calhoun said.
He said Quisenberry is certainly going to have a big year because he is a constant reminder that as a point guard, he has to demand the team, the court, lead others and get them more involved.
“That’s what an MVP does, they affect others and make them be great,” Calhoun said.
He said he believes these three players can change YSU basketball forever if they go to the NCAA tournament — a feat they have never accomplished.
Calhoun said he believes his group of guys is very capable of this large task.
“They all have a lot of potential, we just have to develop that potential,” he said.