With the second half of the college basketball season on the way – the 12-7, 3-1 America East Conference – Stony Brook Seawolves are making strides to punch their ticket to the big dance, the NCAA Tournament, for the first time in program history.
Looking back to the America East Tournament, where the Seawolves lost to Albany 69-60 in the championship game last season, Stony Brook is going to need production outside its two stars, juniors Jameel Warney and Carson Puriefoy, to get the team over the hump.
Roland Nyama, a 6’6” guard/forward from Frankfurt, Germany, may be that spark that the Seawolves need. It’s been an up and down season for Nyama, he’s struggled at times but has shown flashes of greatness, which makes it easy to see why the coaching staff is so excited about him.
At 6-6, he provides athletic play, arguably being the most athletic player on Stony Brook’s roster, coupled with the ability to defend the guard and forward position. Down the stretch in close games his athleticism and his defense are valuable assets for this young Seawolves team to have.
Before Stony Brook’s season opener against Columbia, which the Seawolves won 57-56 on a late layup by Rayshaun McGrew, we sat down with Nyama, and talked about his expectations for the upcoming season.
“I feel really good going into the season, I’ve waited a long year of practice to finally step on this court,” Nyama said
The redshirt freshman sat out his first year at Stony Brook last season because the coaches were not confident that he was ready to play. However, coming off an effort where he recorded 12 points and five steals in a 82-39 win over Maine, Nyama is showing that he’s ready now.
“At first it sucks for everybody, not playing a year, [there’s] a moment you stop thinking about it being a punishment for not being ready and you see it as an opportunity to get better,” Roland Nyama said. “I also learned what I can’t do and that helped a lot too.”
Nyama played two years at Holderness School in New Hampshire, where he was captain of the basketball team his senior year averaging 20.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game and earned himself an All-NEPSAC third team selection.
The transition was the hardest part for Nyama, as he adopted a new style of play since moving from Germany. As a result he had to adapt to a different culture and different style of basketball.
“It’s just a different setting. It’s more physical, in Europe it’s more finesse. I don’t like to admit it but I was kinda soft when I came here but I just learned how to cope with it and how to get tougher,” said Nyama.
The most important half of the Seawolves schedule is upon them and Stony Brook is hoping that Roland Nyama shows those flashes in the big games down the stretch and help secure his team’s place among the flashing lights at the 2015 NCAA Tournament.