When the Profs walked off the court — heads held high, victorious following a thrilling 80-77 last-second victory over New Jersey City University — it was the culmination of years of hard work for coach Joe Crispin and his group of veterans.
Those senior leaders won’t be returning to lace up their shoes for the Brown and Gold but Crispin and company have taken measures to make sure their loss is minimal.
Maliq Sanders and Jerry Price are new to Profs basketball but hope to fill those roles. The senior duo took different paths to Rowan and on the surface appear to be polar opposites, but share a similar drive for greatness.
Their goal: a championship.
Price spent two years at Texas College, playing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The undersized guard, standing at 5 feet, 7 inches tall, is fearless with an immeasurable drive to succeed. His first step is explosive and he brings a score-first mentality to a unit that will need to develop a new identity.
“I don’t put [any] limitations on myself, and just in life period. If I need to be an outside shooter, shoot off the dribble, I could get it. If I need to be the one to get in the lane and distribute, I’ll do that,” Price said. “If I need to be a finisher, I could be the finisher. Whatever coach needs or whatever the team needs at that part of the game, I could do it.”
Sanders, a New Jersey native, attended Holy Family University and Shepherd University before heading closer to home. Sanders stands at six-foot-six-inches and is more mellow but he doesn’t lack in confidence. The tall wing sees himself as an all-around player, more than capable of checking all the boxes for the team.
“I’m tall. I can drive and shoot. I’m a difficult mismatch for other teams,” Sanders said. “I’m a finesse player that can do it all. I can shoot the ball very well. I can also get in the lane and create.”
Sanders arrived on campus and immediately felt at home. After spending time at Shepherd University in West Virginia, he was ready to return to his home state. Price’s journey to Rowan was more unique. It all started with pickup games in an open gym. Price was “killing” it when he caught the eye of one of his fellow players on the court.
“Turns out he’s friends with coach Crispin … I never heard of Rowan until the summer, to be completely honest. And he told me Rowan just lost four starters and were looking for a point guard,” Price said. “He said I’ll call the coach for you. But before he could even do that I emailed coach Crispin that night. I didn’t even wait.”
Crispin is excited by what his new recruits can bring to the table and believes the diverse backgrounds and skill sets of the team can only be an asset.
“We got a motley crew of a lot of different stories and I kind of like it like that. I think it reflects Rowan as a very diverse place,” Crispin said. “I think it makes your team pretty dangerous once they can figure it out but I like it that way.”
The Profs return to action Nov. 26 against Rutgers-Camden in Glassboro.
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