The 2012-13 season has started in grand fashion for two of the elder statesmen of the New Paltz Men’s Basketball team.
Fourth-year forward Matt Devine and fourth-year guard/forward Shereef Taylor both eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for their careers during the Hawks’ overtime loss to Mount St. Mary College on Tuesday, Nov. 20. This is the first time in program history that two teammates have surpassed that mark in the same game.
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said despite the achievement, he focused more on the journey to the milestone than the actual milestone itself.
“For me, point totals don’t matter much. What means more to me is the growth that both of them have had during those 1,000 points,” Rejniak said. “In the short time that I have had the pleasure of coaching these two young men, I have seen tremendous growth both on and off of the court. I am just proud to have a little part in their success during their two very different journeys. The two of them are special, simply put.”
Although reaching the 1,000 point mark came in a losing effort, Devine still took pride in his accomplishment and shared it with the ones he cared about most.
“Doing it in front of the home crowd along with my parents was even better,” Devine said. “It was exciting to get to celebrate this milestone with my family and friends. I just wish it came with a win.”
Taylor embraces this career achievement, but cites bigger goals for himself and his teammates this season, on and off the court.
“I have plenty of personal goals but the most important one is winning our conference. I want to know what it’s like to be a champion,” Taylor said. “This year’s team has the talent and tools to do so. We just have to prove it. Also, I would like to have a winning season; something I’ve never been a part of during my career here at SUNY New Paltz. Off the court, doing well academically will help me perform better mentally as a student-athlete.”
Being that Devine and Taylor are good friends, reaching the milestone in the same game had a much more personal significance to the co-captain.
“Accomplishing this with Shereef was an amazing feeling,” Devine said. “This is the first time in school history that two people have broken the 1,000 point milestone in the same game. It made it even more special since we are such close friends, so I was really happy to share the night with him and his family.”
Devine has been the Hawks’ steadiest offensive producer and top rebounder this season. He averages 21.2 points and 7.3 boards per game. Taylor is second on the team scoring list with 18.3 points per game. He is the Hawks’ foremost shutdown defender with a total of 16 steals and five blocks so far this season.
The Hawks currently have a 3-4 record and will face SUNYAC opponent Brockport at the Hawk Center on Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m.