It’s a rare opportunity to play varsity basketball as an underclassman and for Charles Ndayizeye he’s accepting the challenge. Being one of the youngest kids on a team can be tough and it’s no exception this year.
Gresham is currently going through a rebuilding year with a record of 2-10 overall. New coach Erik Lyslo is trying to implement a winning attitude in his first year coaching here. Young players that start varsity early like Charles are key to beginning the rebuilding process.
Charles accepts varsity is nothing like the freshman level, where Charles was last year. He has shown a great understanding that he has to play at another level entirely.
“Its up-tempo, faster than last year. Each night you’ve gotta come ready to play, you’ve gotta work harder every game,” Ndayizeye said.
Moving Charles up to varsity was both a move to get him valuable experience, and to provide insane athleticism off the bench. With the amount of seniors on the team this year they have to continue to look forward to the future. Charles’ teammates think highly of him, and see him as a valuable asset to the team.
“Charles is really fast and athletic and helps us off the bench,” Said senior Tyler Pederson.
Last year under a different coaching staff when Charles was on the freshman team, he was told he would be on varsity the next year. When the coaches changed he had to earn his varsity spot all over again. During tryouts, the coaches saw a lot of skills in Charles that they liked, enough to put him on Varsity as a Sophomore.
“He brings us energy every game, and is willing to push the starters at practice,” Dominic Fauria, Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach said.
The minutes Charles is getting and the impact he’s having is phenomenal for a sophomore. For whatever happens to the team for the rest of this season, it seems they have a pretty bright future.