Alumni basketball games: a family tradition

By: Hannah Abbate

Photos By: Anna Darcy

Saturday, October 28th, 2017, Sterling College’s basketball program hosted their annual alumni games in the Gleason gymnasium. In the games, current students are given the chance to play against players that have come before them. The women started the games at six-thirty, the men at eight-fifteen.  

Alumni games are very special events at Sterling College. They are important to coaches, student-athletes, and to past players who are given the chance to return to Sterling College and play on the court they once played on themselves.

Cassi Spleiss is one of the women’s basketball alumni who played. She said, “[Alumni games are] really special because Coach Cruz created a really neat culture: just family. Everyone that has ever played wants to come back and honor him and honor each other. He just did so good at making [a] family. I think K.C. [Women’s Basketball Head Coach] and Pete [athletic trainer for the basketball teams] have done such a great job continuing that culture, and so, when that culture is bread season after season after season, you want to come back and be a part of it.”

Spleiss graduated from Sterling College in 2013 and has returned every year since to take part in the alumni games. 

W BasketballWomen’s Basketball Assistant Coach, Kate Brickell said, “The tradition of the women’s basketball team is success in a family. To be able to bring back players that built the tradition to play against the players who are trying to build the tradition and continue it is really cool for the family come-together.”

You can see it when they play and when they talk about their sport, these Alumni love this school and the culture that surrounds it. It is a family that continues even after they graduate.  

Tara Proffitt, a junior on the women’s basketball team, said, “Sterling College women’s basketball is like a big family, and after you graduate it’s still like you’re a part of that family. [alumni] are one of our biggest supports. It’s not just our actual family, it’s the girls who have been here before, girls who know what it means to have the name ‘Sterling’ across your chest when you’re playing ball”. 

Men’s basketball alumni, Fayola Oyatayo said his favorite thing about playing in his first alumni game was playing with his little brother. F and L Oyatoya

“This time last year we played an Alumni game together when I was a senior and he was a sophomore. He actually hurt his knee and was out for the season, so it actually means a lot that we’re back and we’re playing against each other and he’s healthy.”

F. Oyatayo’s little brother, Leye Oyatayo, a junior on the men’s basketball team, loves the competitiveness of playing against alumni and is excited for when he will come back to play as an alumnus himself.

L. Oyatayo said, “Oh yes. Definitely. I will be here for the next five, ten years. Every alumni game I’m coming back. It’s just so much fun.”  

Samantha Mosley, a senior on the women’s basketball team, agreed that the alumni games are a ton of fun and a very special opportunity.

Mosley said, “I think it’s fun seeing people who have worn our jerseys and been in our position come back and play with us. It’s just fun getting to play against people who were us at one point.” 

At the end of the night, the Sterling College Men’s Basketball Team won 100-60 against the alumni. Sterling College Women’s Basketball won against the alumni 60-45.