Captains Profile: Ryan Conroy '19 and Matan Zucker '19

Ryan Conroy ’19 and Matan Zucker ’19 are the co-captains for the Boys Varsity Basketball team this winter. Both players joined the team last season as new IV Formers at Lawrenceville.

Ryan Conroy ’19 and Matan Zucker ’19 are the co-captains for the Boys Varsity Basketball team this winter. Both players joined the team last season as new IV Formers at Lawrenceville.

Zucker has always loved basketball, but it wasn’t until high school that he started considering it as his priority. Initially, his father and brother’s passion for the game influenced his decision to start playing the sport when he was young. Zucker said, “It was just part of a family thing; I was just [going to] play basketball.”

When he was a junior at his former high school, Zucker realized that he wanted to continue to play at the collegiate level. Around this time, Head Coach Ron Kane ’83 P’20, reached out to one of Zucker’s travel team coaches about playing for Lawrenceville. Zucker found that Lawrenceville was a perfect fit. He said, “I really wanted to play basketball in college, and I thought that coming to Lawrenceville would put me in the best position to do so, so that’s how I ended up at a boarding school.”

Conroy started playing basketball when he was about four years old, when his dad first “put the ball in his hands,” and he has played the game ever since. However, it was not until eighth grade that Conroy realized that basketball was going to be an integral part of his future. Once he entered high school, Conroy “decided to come [to Lawrenceville] and get the best opportunity to someday play college basketball.” Similar to Zucker, Kane reached out to Conroy and his coach to recruit him to play basketball at Lawrenceville. The School proved to be a great academic and athletic fit for him, so he chose to come for his IV Form year.

Both captains have had a great experience on the team at Lawrenceville thus far. The season started with a few losses, specifically in the Peddie Tournament. Nevertheless, the players took their loss as a learning opportunity to come together as a team and change their mindsets. They turned the season around, regained their confidence, which led to its win in the Kingswood Oxford Tournament and its later beating the winning team of the Peddie Tournament in a home game by 25 points. Currently, Conroy, Zucker, and the rest of the team are looking forward to and preparing for the play-offs to conclude the 2019 season.

Both captains have embraced a leadership style based on energy and accountability. Conroy and Zucker try to set a positive tone for each game and lift their teammates up with their own energy. Zucker has learned a lot from basketball, including learning to have a more relaxed outlook before games rather than stressing. Conroy added that his main goal as captain this year is to “get this team to come together, [...] working as one.”

Both captains give a lot of credit to Kane. Zucker said, “He’s a positive guy [...] You don’t want to have a coach who is negative [...] He’s good for the team.” Conroy said that being able to have moments where he is laid back with his coach has made his athletic experience all the more fulfilling. Both agree that Kane is exactly the type of dynamic leader the team needs in order to succeed and improve its work ethic.

After a few losses early in the season, the team was able to gain momentum and confidence, winning the Kingswood Oxford Tournament in December and entering the final stretch of the season with a 12-6 record.

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