Five seniors honored for UC men’s basketball


Kayleigh Sturtevant

Utica College men’s basketball celebrated senior day with a win over conference rival St. John Fisher.

Marquez Lott-Douglass, Staff Writer

As the basketball season reaches its final stretch, it’s time when the seniors are recognized for their hard work and dedication throughout their Pioneer career.

On Feb. 12, the Utica College men’s basketball program celebrated their five seniors, including Kobe Lufkin, Darius Hopkins, Avery Coston, Chris Green and Kimedrick Murphy.

The team defeated conference rival St. John Fisher 72-46, but that was just an added bonus to the senior’s farewell regular season home game.

“We all came in with one common goal and that goal being to change the program around, and we are seeing all of our hard work come true,” Hopkins said. “We aren’t done yet but it is important to pat yourself on the back and celebrate what you have done.”

Looking back on his time at Utica College, Murphy remembered how many of his family and friends were surprised that he chose Utica College out of the many choices that were open to him. 

“I said from the start it felt like a family and it felt like we were all on the same page of chasing greatness,” Murphy said. “It is very rare to find guys fully brought in like these groups of guys I’ve had the blessing to play with for years. I wouldn’t go back and change anything, even if I had the chance.”

The players aren’t done yet. With their two big wins on Feb. 12 and 13, and an 11-game win streak, the team is now in the best position to not only win the regular season championship, but host the Empire 8 Conference Tournament as well. 

“To beat  [St. John] Fisher on senior day by a 20-plus margin felt so good and made a statement when speaking on our legacy at Utica,” Green said. “They have always been a top team in our conference and have a heavy winning tradition, and that is what we planned to create here with coach Coffey and the guys moving up in the program.”

Being labeled as the best in the conference going into the championship tournament and hosting the tournament with the home crowd being the 6th man can be a great feeling for the athletes.

“Since I came in freshman year and watched guys like Ivan Iton dominate the league but fall short of the big goal, it made me work harder,” Coston said. “It made me want to be a good leader and get everybody to buy into the bigger picture.”

He said many of the players experience an adjustment period when starting college because they usually leave high school as one of the best on the team. He advised following the “we,” not “me,” motto.

“To have to come to school and now there is somebody faster and stronger and a more polished scorer than them, I had to even understand that,” Coston said. “I didn’t need to score 20 a game to win or try and take my man every time because the biggest goal was winning. Now, we hold the title of the winningest players in Utica history and we are still hungry for more.”