Thank You Firsties
By Jimmy Allen, Head Men's Basketball Coach
As you get ready to graduate this Saturday I wanted write and let you know how proud I am of each of you and what you mean to our basketball program and the Academy. From your R-Day four years ago, until now, each of you has helped us build a winning culture and you leave our program poised to continue making history. You have set the bar higher for every class that follows you both on the court and off.
For me, it has been extra special because your arrival coincided with my first season as a head coach here at West Point. To a man, you have all impacted our program in positive ways.
We began your senior season talking about what we wanted this year to be about and you decided it was… RESPECT THE TEAM, RESPECT THE GAME, FINISH. Although those were our team core values this past season, you all have lived that throughout your time as Cadets. It is not a coincidence that those were the values you ultimately came up with.
RESPECT THE TEAM.
In your words this meant understanding how everyone’s actions on and off the court would impact our success. You set examples of this as Cadets in your companies, in the corps and on our team.
You exemplified this at different times throughout your four years. I remember getting an email from our Commandant during your Beast Barracks saying that she had been marching with Keeston Smith and how impressed she was with his positive attitude. I remember Matt Wilson during his summer detail last year finding a pair of shoes for a plebe who somehow managed not to bring any. There was Tommy Funk driving back from the New Jersey shore during his leave to be with our incoming Plebes on R-Day.
You took younger teammates and counseled them when they were struggling, and you gave up your free time to host recruits. You led our team to break academic records in the classroom all four years. There are so many other memories, but ultimately what I will remember the most is that you took every opportunity during your four years to make choices to make not only our team better but the larger team you were a part of better as well.
RESPECT THE GAME.
You guys led our scout team, stepped into drills, rebounded for teammates, broke individual records and because of all those things our program set team milestones. You set the standard for how to prepare for success on the court. Read more.