Senior Sports Writer
The College of Wooster men’s basketball team had a tough, short 2021 season this winter, ending the season with a record of 4-5. However, everyone was thankful they were even able to play some games during the pandemic, even if it meant their games would be played without spectators, the benches would be socially distanced between players and there would be less games.
For Joey Passodelis ’21he described COVID-19 as a blessing in disguise. “COVID helped our team come together because it was a basketball season like we had never seen before. We were all trying to make it as normal as possible but that wasn’t the case and through this new experience we bonded,” said Passodelis. As for the biggest challenge this past season for him and his team, he added, “it was a big challenge to develop team chemistry with no off-season practices, meetings on Microsoft Teams in the fall, and no chances to hangout off the court. Throughout the season, we became closer and it showed on the court.” He added, “It felt great to finally be able to compete on the court this year. Being from Pittsburgh, none of our gyms were open most of 2020 so it was hard to train, but when the season started it felt great.”
Although his teammates have helped him develop as a player and person on and off the court, Coach Doug Cline has had a major impact on Passodelis as well. “Coach Cline helped me develop in my four years at Wooster as a player by telling me to know my role. I knew I wasn’t the most skilled player, but he told me to work on the things I was good at, such as rebounding and shooting, and that helped me enhance my game. Off the court, he taught me to take a chance and appreciate things outside of basketball and that basketball in the big scheme of things is not what makes life so precious,” he said.
Passodelis has cherished many memories as a member of the Fighting Scots men’s basketball team. His favorite memory was winning the NCAC tournament at Wittenberg last year in Coach Steve Moore’s last season before retiring. “It was not just because we won but that we blew them out in their own gym and cut their nets down.”
As for Passodelis’ favorite team tradition, he had one thing in mind: “A few years ago, we started stomping on the floor and crossing our legs as a bench when we made free throws. When it is done at the same time, it looks quite clean and would get the crowd excited.”
Given that next season will be normal again and more games will be played, Passodelis shared that he thinks the team can improve defensively. “One thing we like to pride ourselves in is being the best defensive team we can be. The past few years we haven’t been, so I am excited to see what the guys do on the defensive end next year.
On the academic side of things, Passodelis completed his Senior Independent Study last month. “My Independent Study focused on the impact fantasy football has on NFL viewership ratings and how ESPN could charge advertisers a higher price to broadcast their commercials during a given game based on the number of fantasy football players. ESPN operates as the intermediary in a two-sided market by charging fantasy football players nothing to use the platform and charging advertisers a large price to advertise in games with a large number of players rostered in all fantasy football leagues,” he explained.