After year off, it’s back to court
The wait, both agree, was agonizing.
But now, Carson Desrosiers and Evan Smotrycz are back on the basketball court, and ready to contribute to their new college programs.
Desrosiers, a 7-foot forward out of Central Catholic High in Lawrence, and Smotrycz (inset), a 6-foot-8-inch forward from Reading who prepped at New Hampton School, sat out last season (per NCAA rules) after their decision to transfer, the former from Wake Forest to Providence, and the latter from Michigan to Maryland.
The wait is over for the former teammates, together for three seasons on the Mass Rivals AAU squad, who are preparing for their respective season openers. Providence taps off Nov. 2 against Rhode Island, while Maryland takes on UConn in Brooklyn six days later.
It has been nearly 19 months since they have played in a game that counted, and they had time to answer a few questions.
What was it like to sit out an entire season?
Desrosiers: It was tough being on the bench and watching my teammates play. They say practice is where you work on everything and in games is where you showcase it. I was working on things, but was not able to showcase them.
Smotrycz: Game days were tough, just working out and having to watch the games. But on the flip side, it was good because I had so much time to devote toward getting better and focusing on getting stronger, more athletic, and working on my game.
How did you prepare for this season?
Desrosiers: I was in the weight room four to five times a week. Not playing games, I could afford to be sore for practice. I went into the weight room a lot more than my teammates who were playing in games. I was working on my strength, being more assertive on the court, and my post moves.
Smotrycz: This summer was kind of different because we had our trip to the Bahamas so we had some extra practices. There were more team-based workouts than individual stuff, and a lot of my time was spent practicing for the overseas trip.
Why did you transfer after two seasons?
Desrosiers: It was a personal decision. I loved everything about Wake Forest, the coaches there and my teammates. But it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to after I committed out of high school, and I felt it was best to make a change. At Providence, I was a little closer to home, a little closer to where I played high school. I think sitting out last year, after I made the decision, I think looking forward to this season and the next will work out for the best.
Smotrycz: I just wanted a place where I could expand my game and have the freedom to play the way I wanted to play and grow as a player. Coach Turgeon and the rest of the coaches on staff are good coaches. They made up a plan for me on how I’d improve in my off year and how I’d fit in for the upcoming year.
Which aspect of your game will help you make the greatest impact this season?
Desrosiers: I never had a formal weight-training program since I got to college. In the last year or two, I’ve really worked on my body and I think that’s going to show in my athletic ability on the court. The only thing holding me back was my strength and that’s something the last year has really helped.
Smotrycz: I think the part of my game that has grown most is being mature and making the right play. Not try to hit home runs every time, but make the winning plays and knocking down shots.
What’s the biggest difference in your approach to the upcoming season?
Desrosiers: I can’t wait. It’s been a long time, close to a year and a half since I played in a collegiate basketball game. I’m itching to get back out there. My family and friends keep asking how I’m doing, and I can’t wait to step on that court.
Smotrycz: It’s probably tough to compare, but being that I sat out a whole year, I’m just really excited to get out there. We’ve got a great group of guys, great team chemistry, and a lot of potential. I think we’re on the right track.
In a game to 21, who wins?
Desrosiers: I think it’d be a pretty close game. I know he’ll say he’ll win. He’s a better one-on-one player, a better dribbler and has better moves. But I’ll give him a run for his money — I’ll have 21, he’ll have 18.
Smotrycz: Me. He can’t guard me.
Parent in scoring role for Rams
As Marisa Parent prepared for her junior year with the Framingham State women’s soccer team, she knew coach Tucker Reynolds was counting on her to be a leader for the Rams.
“He said, ‘You need to step up and be someone everyone can look up to.’ So I took that as motivation to play better every game,” she said.
Parent’s preparations begin in June as she followed a rigorous workout regimen and played twice a week in a women’s league in Waltham.
With 11 goals in eight games, second in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Revere High grad has emerged as the driving force behind the Rams offense.
Her biggest goal came last week, when she scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Salem State. With it, the Rams improved to 7-1-1, and first place in the conference at 2-0-1, entering Saturday’s game. The Rams have not lost since the second game.
“In practice, we have a very competitive mentality this year. If we play a scrimmage, the losing team always has a consequence,” said Parent, who was named the MASCAC offensive player of the week.
“We’re bringing that into games, and just focusing more on being aggressive.”
With five games remaining, Framingham, picked fifth in the preseason poll, is fighting to secure a top seed for the MASCAC tournament.
“Everyone is gunning for us now,” Parent said.
Three smart stars
Keene State softball players Jessica Fiorenza (Wakefield), Samantha Nitso (Londonderry, N.H.,) and Stephanie Long (Salem, N.H.) were all named All-America Scholar Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Fiorenza was a senior on last year’s team, while Nitso, a junior, and sophomore Long will be returning to the diamond in the spring.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at email@example.com.