Vol. 18, No. 21Feb. 25, 1999

Basketball co-captains motivate teammates

Senior guard Tyrone Perry and sophomore forward Renee Baker, prominent male and female basketball players at UD, have something special in common: the ability to not only motivate themselves, but to motivate and lead their teammates as well.

"Tyrone Perry is a natural leader," Mike Brey, men's head basketball coach, said of the senior criminal justice major and team co-captain. "He is the first player I signed in my career here at UD, and we have a special relationship. When I start a sentence, Tyrone finishes it. He has become an extension of my coaching, and I can speak through him to the team. He has been a key part of the team's success and improvement. He has never missed a practice."

Tina Martin, women's head basketball coach, has similar things to say about Renee Baker, who is studying criminal justice and accounting. "This is Renee's first year as co-captain. She is a very emotional and intense leader. She is learning to lead not only physically, but verbally as well. She is an outstanding defensive player."

Both players and their coaches cited the same games as examples of their leadership. For Martin and Baker, it was the New Hampshire game. "At the time, New Hampshire was ranked the second best team in the league," Martin said. "UD was fourth. We beat them 80 to 68."

Baker agreed with her coach. "The University of New Hampshire away game was the game that stands out for me so far this season," she said. "Our team kept going after their players, and we ended up winning the game by 12 points with four minutes to go in the game."

For Brey and Perry, it was the Boston University game. "Tyrone scored 10 of the final 11 points of the game," Brey said.

"After one of my teammates was fouled out, I scored the shot to tie the game and in overtime I made seven of the final eight shots," Perry said.

The two young leaders-Perry from Warwick High School in Newport News, Va., and Baker from Wilmington's Padua Academy-are modest when you ask them about their leadership and motivational skills.

"Before each game, we bring the team together and talk about our goals for the game," Baker said. "Everyone contributes to the team's success. I don't need to try to motivate myself-I love to play basketball and practice is fun."

"I feel I am blessed with my talents," Perry said. "I am very grateful for them. I love basketball and I play to the best of my ability for the University and the fans. Being together as a team makes us all better players and better people as well."

-Gail E. Walford