Captains’ Corner: Daniel Aronowitz ’17

Team:

Daniel Aronowitz ’17. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s basketball

Hometown:

Columbus, Ohio

Residence:

Spring Street

Favorite place on campus:

Lee’s Snack Bar

Snack bar order:

A bagel supreme and a breakfast burrito

 

At what age did you start playing basketball?

I started playing rec basketball in third grade in my hometown. Growing up, you play a little out in the driveway, and that’s how it kind of starts. I played a lot of sports, and soccer was actually my first love. I would go from soccer practice to basketball practice, and I would have so much fun at basketball practice. The fun I had playing basketball is why I stuck with it, and it’s been a long ride since then.

What was your experience playing basketball before you came to the College?

I played three years of varsity basketball at Columbus Academy, and I played travel basketball with some AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] teams. The AAU scene is crazy – traveling all the time, going all over the country. One of my best memories playing basketball was when my AAU team traveled to Orlando to play at Nationals. We played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and lived down there for three weeks in a condo, where we crammed four in a room. It was a lot of fun to go and play several games.

Why did you decide to come to the College?

It was a combination of the school and the basketball program. My head coach at Columbus Academy, Chris Jones ’94, actually played basketball here, so he introduced me to the school early on. The program had a ton of success before I got here. I could tell from the moment I stepped on campus and met the guys that the culture of the program was unlike any of the other places that I visited. The community is amazing, both in terms of Williamstown and in terms of the basketball alumni that come back. I got some texts after Saturday’s game from guys I had played with who have graduated. These are lifelong friends, and I feel very lucky to have been a part of the school and the program.

What do you like most about playing for Coach App?

He’s the ultimate players’ coach. We try to talk every Monday about how we’re feeling and what he expects from us in the upcoming week. He knows the game well and puts us in positions to use our talents. His first season, we had just lost a really good senior class, and [All-American] Duncan Robinson transferred. Coach App’s been amazing at maintaining the culture of the program and getting the most out of us on a daily basis.

How has your game evolved in your time here?

I’ve become more skilled over the years, just because of the amount of work that we’ve collectively put in. As a freshman, seeing the way the guys before me worked showed me what this program expects. The work ethic is contagious. We have a culture of gym rats, people who love being in the gym and want to get better. I’m a little less bouncy that I used to be, but I think I’ve come along way, and a lot of credit has to go to my teammates and coaches for pushing me. I’ve been lucky to have those guys around.

What part of your game do you spend the most time working on?

We take a lot of pride in being one of the better shooting teams in the country. I’ve worked a lot on my shooting. The offseason is when I put the majority of my time in. The last two offseasons, I’ve put more time into my jump shot than I have in the rest of my life combined.

What does the team try to do in games when it does not shoot as well as it normally does?

Regardless of whether the shots are going in, we try to play with the same confidence. We didn’t shoot the ball great against Tufts, but we had guys attacking the rim. Kyle Scadlock ’19 was amazing, and he’s tough to guard when he gets going. We have a lot of different weapons, and we can attack in different ways.

You’ve played quite a bit now with tri-captains Taysean Scott ’17 and Mike Greenman ’18. How have your relationships with them grown?

Those are my brothers, man. One of the things I’m most grateful for are the friendships I’ve made and that I know will last forever. Tay and Mike are no exceptions, and they’re two of my best friends. Tay and I are doing what we can to leave our mark on the program, and Mike is happy to have one more season.

Your freshman year, the team made the NCAA championship game. This year, you’re bookending your career with another tournament run. What’s it like to play on the big stage?

It’s awesome. We were really lucky to have the first two games this year at Chandler and to have the crowds that we had. It was special to end my career in Chandler with a win and my college career with a Sweet 16 run. We beat up on other NESCAC teams so much in the conference, so it’s nice to play some new teams in the tournament. No matter whom we’re playing, we feel like we can exploit them in some way.

You were recently named First Team All-NESCAC for the second straight year. How does it feel to get that sort of recognition?

It’s cool to get recognized on an individual level, but I’d much rather have a national championship ring. That’s what we’re really working toward, but anything that comes along the way is nice.

This season, the team started strong but stumbled at the start of conference play. You’ve now made a tournament run that few would have expected. What caused the turnaround?

We’ve been focused lately on playing with a loose and confident mindset. After the Hamilton game, we were 1–4 in the conference, and we had a big game against Middlebury that Sunday. We sat down as a team and talked about what we felt we needed to do to turn it around. I think everything we talked about that day has come to fruition. We beat Middlebury, and we’ve been enjoying it since, playing as hard as we can and letting our talent take over. We’re playing pretty well now, so I think it’s worked out for us.

What’s your philosophy as a tri-captain of the team?

It’s been an honor to be captain. My role hasn’t changed a ton; I just go out there and play with confidence. I try to show the young guys that you don’t need to make any game a bigger deal than it should be. We’re just playing basketball, and we’re lucky to be able to do it. As a captain, I’ve been more of a vocal leader, but my role has always been to do everything I can to help our team win.

What are your favorite moments playing basketball?

We went to Spain in August as a team. We toured Barcelona and played three games. It was an amazing bonding experience, and those were memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

What’s something people don’t know about you?

I’m a huge FIFA nerd. My teammates know that, and they make fun of me all the time. When we were in Spain, we went to Camp Nou, which is where Barcelona plays. We took a tour and ended up right on the field, and the tour took us up to the press box and the museum. That was the highlight of the trip for me. I took a ton of pictures, and everyone was kind of laughing at me.

Will you continue playing basketball after this season?

I’m waiting to see what happens with this season, and then I’ll take a little time to figure out whether I want to continue playing in some capacity – probably overseas. I’m trying not to think about it too much now.

You’re now 14th on the program’s all-time scoring list. What kind of a legacy do you want to leave here?

I want to be remembered as a guy who really enjoyed [playing basketball] and put it all out there for his teammates. That’s all I can really ask for. I cherish every opportunity I get out there with my teammates. Everything I’ve done has been the product of having had such amazing teammates all four years, guys who poured it out every single day in practice and in every game. I learned from them and tried to pass it along to the guys after me.