By Zion Williams, Contributing Writer
Following a winning season but falling short at the end of the Centennial Conference semifinals, Gettysburg men’s basketball seeks to build upon last season’s success as they strive to win the conference championship.
The Bullets have seen similar success this season, as they currently have a 10-9 overall record and are 7-5 against conference opponents. As with any burgeoning team, they owe a large part of their success to their leaders on the court.
Elijah Williams ’23 and Ryan McKeon ’23 are two prominent leaders on the team. Williams is a health sciences major and Africana studies minor from Washington, DC. McKeon, who will play another Bullets basketball season next fall before graduating, is a business, organizations, and management major from Landenberg, PA.
“I ultimately chose Gettysburg because of my overnight visit,” said McKeon. “I felt that I connected well with the guys on the team.”
Williams agreed with his teammate, but also added that Coach B.J. Dunne’s vision of turning the program around attracted him to Gettysburg.
Based on the numbers in past seasons, the Bullets have shown noticeable improvement, but Williams added that a lot of unseen work is behind the success.
“Turning the program around begins with creating an environment where everyone knows the standard,” said Williams. “Each player knows that they need to hold themselves and their teammates accountable.”
However, maintaining a standard is easier said than done, which is why leadership is very important to the team, said McKeon.
“Being a leader is getting the best out of the people around you,” said McKeon. “People are different, and our job as captains is to learn how each of our teammates communicate, so we can create the best team atmosphere possible.”
Williams followed this up by saying that another vital part of being a good leader is engaging with the broader campus community.
The Bullets partnered with the college’s Office of Multicultural Engagement to collect donations for the Mosaic Cupboard during their home game against Washington College. The Cupboard provides toiletries and other items, for free, to students enrolled at Gettysburg.
“Many players on our team did not know about the Mosaic Cupboard,” said Williams. “We thought it was important to raise awareness of this resource for students and contribute to it by collecting donations during our game.”
As their time as Bullets will soon end, Williams and McKeon reflect on the impact that Gettysburg basketball has had on their lives.
“I really value the relationships that I have made during my time here,” said McKeon. “The team feels like family, and I know that I have made connections that will last a lifetime.”
“On top of the connections that I have made, I have learned valuable lessons that I will carry throughout my life,” said Williams. “Knowing how to communicate with different people and listening to different perspectives are skills that will benefit me in my future endeavors.”
Williams and McKeon have undoubtedly left an impact on Bullets basketball, but their job is not done yet, as they seek to lead their team to a strong finish in the Centennial Conference.