Cougar cubs growing up too fast

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Ryan Delwo, everyone.

Ryan Delwo, everyone.

Rookie Ryan Delwo has a promising future

Article: Matt Wincherauk – Contributor

[dropcaps round=”no”]M[/dropcaps]aking the jump from high school basketball to the university level is always difficult, but former Sheldon-Williams Spartan Ryan Delwo is embracing the challenge and making the most of his opportunities.

Although it is a big jump from high school ball to the pressure of playing for a CIS university team and going up against some of the toughest competition in Canada, Delwo is handling it in stride.

“University basketball has been a different experience than other levels of basketball,” Delwo said. “You must get better every day because every other team in the league is doing the same. This is the first time I’m playing many of the opponents, so it makes preparing that much more important. We all have grown together and everyone helps each other out when we need it.”

It is always an adventure trying to acclimate to something new, and Delwo has done a good job so far of learning on the fly. Despite being a first year player, Head Coach Steve Burrows has relied on Delwo for important minutes off the bench and for some three-point prowess. He is averaging six points a game, but also shooting a phenomenal 41 per cent from beyond the arc.

For teammate Brendan Hebert, one of the leaders on the team, he had some high praise for Delwo and other younger players like Travis Sylvestre, but Delwo was quick to give praise back to the veteran.

“Hebert leads by example,” Delwo stated. “He gives it his all and tries to help everyone out along the way. He is kind of the guy that you want to be like down the line in a university basketball career. He really controls the game well and hits the key shots when we need them.”

It is that leadership and ability that will help get this Cougars team over the hump, and make them a more competitive team not only this year, but in years to come, even after Hebert has moved on.

The Cougars are just 3-15, and have been battling a season-long struggle to string wins, and consistent games together, but this should be looked at as a learning experience for the rookie.

“We knew that this season was going to bring some struggles and that made us come together through those times and grow as a team and individuals on and off the court,” Delwo said. “Because we have had so many close games, it brings hope to the rest of the season by cleaning up the little things in order to get those close games done.”

Frustratingly close losses can be hard on a team, especially one as young as the Cougars, but the players are mentally tough and have the right mindset. Instead of crumbling after a big loss, they come together as a team, focus on the next game, and move on.

It might not be the easiest transition into university sports, with a young and underachieving team, but Delwo is meeting the challenges head on, and that attitude will bolster him and the team for the rest of this season and in the coming years.

[button style=”e.g. solid, border” size=”e.g. small, medium, big” link=”” target=””]Image: Haley Klassen[/button]

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