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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

A Minute with McCloskey: A thank you to our senior basketball players

The student section sends a message to the senior class. Photo by Mitchell Shields ’22

Fours years of running sprints up and down the court. Four years of scoring points in front of fans flapping their wings. Four years of walking onto the court in Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena, ready to play with their hearts and souls for Hawk fans that have come to show their support.

Nine men’s and women’s basketball players played in the final regular season home game of their collegiate career. Each of these players has been crucial components of the way each season has been played since their arrival on campus. Each has laid all they have on the court in an effort to win.

For the women’s team, senior guards Alyssa Monaghan and Kristalyn Baisden, along with senior forwards Michala Clay, Whisper Fisher and Sarah Veilleux were celebrated on Saturday, March 2, after they lost 51-41 to Fordham University

Over the past four seasons, the St. Joe’s women’s basketball team has finished the regular season: 14-14 (2015-2016), 15-13 (2016-2017), 15-13 (2017-2018), and 11-18 (2018-2019)

These seniors have been a part of all of the successes and shortcomings of the St. Joe’s women’s basketball team. These women are the veterans on a team of fairly young players.

Hours later, the St. Joe’s men’s basketball team took on one of their Philadelphia Big 5 rivals La Salle University in the second to last home game of the season. 15 minutes prior to the start of the game, the senior players were honored.

Redshirt senior forward Markell Lodge, senior guard Chris Clover, senior forward Pierfrancesco  Oliva and senior guard Mike Muggeo stood in front of the fans amongst cheers and thanks. From what I have witnessed, I am confident that they deserved all of the praise they were given.

Lodge, the school leader in blocked shots at 55, completed his collegiate basketball career at St. Joe’s on the bench due to a season-ending hand injury on Feb. 8 against Saint Louis University.

In his tenure playing for St. Joe’s, Lodge was recognized as the only Hawk to be in the starting lineup in all 31 games of the 2016-17 season. I have said it before and I will say it again, Lodge is the heart and soul of the Hawks. He can make the most disappointing performance by the team exciting with an emphatic block or a posterizing dunk.

Oliva, a 30-game starter during the 2015-2016 championship season, also took part in Senior Night on the sidelines after an injury on Jan. 12 at Duquesne University. During his tenure with the team, Oliva remained a steady option for Head Coach Phil Martelli to turn to late in games for offensive and defensive support.

Clover, on the other hand, began his career with the Hawks a bit slower. Barely seeing the court in his first season, Clover’s role expanded in the 2016-17 season in which he played 30-games and helped the Hawks to capture the A-10 Championship.

Throughout his time playing for St. Joe’s, Clover earned a nickname from the student section because of his ability to change the outcome of the game: the X-Factor. It has been joked that every few games, Clover will score 15 or more points and barely miss a shot. In these games, when Clover hardly misses the bottom of the net, he multiplies the Hawks’ chance of winning.

Lodge, Oliva and Clover were all a part of the 2015-16 A-10 Championship winning team which went on to win their first round game against the University of Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament before losing to the University of Oregon in the second round.

It is these three who have hoisted the A-10 Championship trophy who have held their heads high in losing seasons. Lodge, Oliva and Clover have seen it all when it comes to the Hawks, and it is time they were recognized for everything they have done for the team, the students, the fans and the university.

These nine seniors have stood with their teams, have come together during the wins and the losses and have grown as players and people throughout their time on the court in front of the Hawk faithful.

My time as a fan of the St. Joe’s basketball programs has been built upon their dedication to winning and pursuing excellence both on and off the court.

For all you have given me, for all you have given the fans, for all you have given to St. Joe’s, thank you.

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