This archived article was written by: Robert Young
Perhaps the greatest challenge in team sports is the willingness and ability of a team to collaborate.
The difficulty of that task is enhanced when the individuals on the team come from different places.
This is the dilemma the CEU men’s basketball team faced when they assembled in Price.
CEU head men’s basketball coach Bryan Zollinger agrees, asserting that the most demanding aspect of his job is not teaching the game of basketball, but finding a way to correlate a group of young men from vastly different environments and backgrounds.
Coach Zollinger is able to do so by delegating authority to assistant coach Brady Trenkle, in addition to relying upon sophomores and more experienced team members to provide leadership.
Although coach Zollinger admits that his job is sometimes frustrating, that frustration draws no comparison to the reward of having the opportunity to change the lives of deserving young people.
The 21 players who make up the CEU men’s basketball team represent six states and one foreign country.
Luke Hendrix, Chris Anderson, Jared True, Casey Iverson, Raymond Williams, Belford Williams, Clay Greenland and Jared Quayle all played their high school basketball in Utah.
Chris Langhorne, Nyheem Shiggs, and Radee Tutler are all from New Jersey.
Tyrone Shephard and Lee Nearing both come from Seattle, Washington.
Steve Williams is the only one from Wyoming.
Robert Smith is the sole representative from Columbus, Ohio.
Chris Lang is from Ft. Worth, Texas.
Michael Kirkpatrick is the only member of CEU’s basketball team from out of the country. He is from Germany.
In addition, this year’s rendition of the team features four players from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Uniquely, the four players, Jeremy Atwater, Robert Young, Leonta Matthews, and Garret Schofield, were rivals of each other as high school players in Las Vegas.
However, Young and Matthews became best friends last year while they were teammates at Seminole State College in Oklahoma.
When the opportunity to transfer to CEU presented itself they decided to make the move together.
Matthews stated, “Making a critical decision about one’s life such as where to go to school is always difficult, but knowing I would have Robert here with me really took a lot of the burden of that decision off of me.”
Now all four of the Las Vegas rooted CEU players have set aside their high school encounters and relish the opportunity to work as teammates.
The consensus amongst the players is that they have embraced their differences, agreeing that they are all in the process of becoming increasingly well-rounded individuals as a result of their new relationships with unfamiliar people.
Casey Iverson commented, “It’s been exciting and enlightening learning of others’ perspectives on life and basketball.”
All of the players on the team are amazed at how their passion for the game of basketball has been able to unite a group of people, who otherwise, may not have had the opportunity to form bonds with each other.