West Chester University Men’s Basketball opened up their season with a 82-69 victory over Wesley College, led by this week’s Hot Seat subject Jackson Hyland.
Hyland finished the win with 24 points and eight rebounds in 36 minutes of work, building on his strong close to last season, one in which he finished with a double-double in four of the Golden Rams’ last seven games.
We spoke to Jackson about the team’s goals for this upcoming season, his love for the game of basketball and his favorite album of 2017.
B.J Boyer: What’s the theme for WCU Men’s Basketball this season?
Jackson Hyland: Our motto for this year is “Make History.” West Chester University has never won a PSAC championship for Men’s basketball and our number one goal this year is to do just that.
BB: What’s the greatest strength of the team?
JH: Our greatest strength this year is our chemistry and up-tempo style of play. We have an advantage over teams with our size and speed on the fast break. Our willingness to be unselfish makes us a very hard team to guard.
BB: You had an excellent close to the season last year, what helped/enabled you to get into such a groove?
JH: The coaching staff and my teammates. Head coach Damien Blair constantly pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and to be active every second that I’m on the floor. And luckily my teammates put me in situations to be successful which got me into a good flow in the second half of the season.
BB: Give us three adjectives to describe your style of play.
JH: Hard-working, competitive and quirky.
BB: What makes the game of basketball so special to you?
JH: I have been playing basketball ever since I could walk. I remember being little and all I wanted to do was go outside and shoot. Fast forward 18 or so years later and that passion is still with me. Also, we have very intense and competitive practices which keeps me excited to get better every day.
BB: “Stranger Things,” “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”?
JH: Easily Game of Thrones. I live vicariously through Jon Snow.
BB: What’s the best album, any genre, to come out so far this year?
JH: I’m going to have to go with “DAMN” by Kendrick Lamar. I’m able to listen to it to get pumped up before games and also if I just want to relax so it has the best of both worlds.
BB: Who’s the funniest member of the team?
JH: This one’s hard because we have so many characters on the team. I’d have to go with either Tyrell Long or Dom Guerrera. There’s never a dull moment with these two which makes being with them every day quite the experience.
BB: You’ve got to trust one member of the team with the aux cord before a game. Who is it, and what do you think they play?
JH: I would go with Matt Penecale. I live with him so I know his taste in music correlates pretty closely with mine and that he wouldn’t mess up the pre-game vibes. As long as J-Cole gets a couple plays I would be happy with anyone though.
BB: Who’s your favorite basketball player of all time?
JH: I think every one who’s talked to me about basketball knows this one: Larry Bird.
B.J. Boyer is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu.