by Kristin Jarvis
PSU Office of Public Relations
Sportsmanship is about how you act, both on and off the court, according to men's basketball team captain Mike Sullivan. It starts in practice, continues through games and tournaments and ends up turning teammates into friends.
During practice drills, teammates demonstrate the close bonds they have formed.
"Our team is very competitive and there are always people diving on the floor or taking a charge during practice," says Sullivan. "Every time that someone sacrifices their body on the court, the whole team notices and basically argues with each other about who wants to help that person up."
The Panthers have been honored by the Collegiate Basketball Officials Association (CBOA) for their hard work, their commitment to teammates and the respect they show other players, fans and coaches. Plymouth State has been chosen as the Eastern New England regional recipient of the CBOA's Sam Shoenfeld Sportsmanship Award. The Panthers are the first New Hampshire basketball team to win this prestigious award.
The award, named for a founding member of the association, has been presented annually since 1956 to "the basketball program who, in the judgment of the CBOA membership, exemplifies the highest degree of sportsmanship, character and ethics among their players, coaches and spectators." The Shoenfeld award is the highest honor that CBOA annually bestows on any collegiate institution.
"This is a very prestigious honor and we are proud to recognize Plymouth State University and the members of the men's basketball program for their sportsmanship," said Ronald L. Martel, Dean of Students at Johnson & Wales University and New England East representative of the CBOA, the largest college basketball officials' organization in the world. "Plymouth State should be proud of this accomplishment, given the host of highly-regarded institutions and basketball programs it joins."
Past recipients of the award include Harvard University, Brown University, M.I.T., Providence College and Philadelphia University, among others.
PSU head coach John Scheinman, along with the rest of the coaching staff and the Panther student-athletes will be formally recognized this fall at the CBOA's annual meeting.
Scheinman praised his team's admirable work ethic, dedication and positive attitude.
"The kids are pretty grounded. They play for the right reasons," said Scheinman. "What an honor for both this year's team as well as all of the student athletes, coaches, support personnel and fans that have been with us for the past seven years. It's a credit to everybody."
PSU athletic director John P. Clark is elated with the news of the award.
"I am so very proud and excited to share this news," said Clark. "This is a wonderful honor that we can all celebrate!"
For the student-athletes who are members of the basketball team, the award is a reflection of their respect for all members of the sports community. This includes opposing teams and their fans.
"There are many different ways that our team has shown good sportsmanship. As far as showing sportsmanship towards other teams, we always feel that you must respect your opponent. In the Little East conference you have to, because you can get beat on any given night," said Sullivan. "We have total respect and try to show complete sportsmanship towards other teams' fans. We just try to go out and play as hard as we can every night and not worry about the crowd."
The Plymouth State basketball programs are Division III members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the Little East Conference. Plymouth State has had varsity men's basketball for 59 years, dating back to the 1947-48 season. PSU has enjoyed regional and national post-season success, competing in seven ECAC and two NCAA tournaments over the past 11 years.
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