Jamel Smith, Contributing Writer
The men’s basketball team recently won the Empire 8 championship to finish off an incredible season. Many contributed to the successful season in regular play and in the championship run.
One of them was Darius Hopkins, a junior and Health Studies major. He is from Tampa, Florida and his love for basketball runs deep since childhood. Hopkins said he was excited to reflect on the season that went on according to plan despite adversity brought on during the pandemic.
Q: Now that your season is over, what were keys to your success as a team this season?
A: As a team we put a heavy emphasis on playing together on both sides of the floor. We have all league players from top to bottom, so we knew that we didn’t have to go out there and force the issue.
Q: What was the environment like in the locker room after winning the E8 championship?
The environment in the locker room was amazing after the game. It was nothing but happiness and love, like one big family.
Q: Do you feel that being a key contributor to the team affected you in any way? If so how?
I feel like being a key contributor affected me in a positive way. It puts me in a leadership role, therefore I have to continuously lead by example. I like having to hold myself accountable for my actions.
Q: What is your plan moving forward to ensure the same success next season?
The plan moving forward is to remain hungry and motivated. We now have a target on our backs, so we need to work even harder than before.
Q: What are your plans after the season? Do you feel complete?
I honestly plan to stay in the gym even more than I did before. Winning motivated me to win even more. I feel complete at the moment, but I eventually look forward to the summer and next season. Setting these goals early in the season and completing them was a major step for Utica’s men’s basketball and they are looking to work much harder to repeat the same success they had this season for the next one ahead.