Congratulations to Club Basketball, the club sport in the spotlight this month. I sat down with Vice President Matt Pietropaoli to learn more about the team.
How often do you practice? What about playing in tournaments?
We practice every Monday and Wednesday from 7:00 to 9:00. Sometimes we have had trouble getting enough guys to play since schoolwork is such a high priority here at UVA, but it’s not a huge time commitment overall. As far as tournaments go, there is no set number. We try to play in as many as possible depending on who is available.
How did the last tournament you played in go?
The last tournament we played in was in November at James Madison University (JMU). We played pretty well on Saturday and went 2-1, which qualified us for the playoffs on Sunday. Unfortunately, we lost to Clemson in the first round of the playoffs by 2 in a back and forth game.
What has been the team’s most successful tournament run?
Our most successful run since I joined the team was last year at another tournament hosted by JMU. We made it to the championship game, but unfortunately lost to a really solid JMU team. That was my favorite tournament because everything “clicked” that weekend and all of the guys really seemed to enjoy themselves.
What is the most memorable moment you’ve had on the team?
One of my most memorable moments was towards the end of a game against Lehigh University. It was “crunch time” – there was about one minute left and we were up by one. I was in the post and hit a turnaround shot, similar to one you’d see from Kobe Bryant. It was a very intense, physical game and that shot helped secure the win for our team.
What do you like about playing club sports?
I’ve been a huge basketball fan and have played basketball my whole life and I love playing as much as possible. I’m happy to have an opportunity to play organized, competitive basketball through club sports. Our team is a great group of guys, which makes the experience even more fun.
Are there any differences between the fall and spring seasons?
In general, the fall and spring seasons are fairly similar. The difference between the two is the National Club Tournament, which occurs in the spring. Obviously our ultimate goal in the spring is to qualify for tournament, whereas in the fall it is more about just fielding a competitive team and winning as many games as possible.
When does your team have tryouts?
We have tryouts at the beginning of the fall. We have two days of tryouts, which involve a lot of scrimmaging, then we decide who to invite to the team.