KU’s Basketball Club President, Youssef El Hana, talks stereotypes, summer beer bellies, team’s achievements and the importance of fans with The River.
Spending some time with Youssef was like being with a surprisingly mature celebrity: everyone knows Youssef, everyone says hi to Youssef and no one has anything bad to say about him. Despite his busy third-year schedule, event planning and basketball training, he immediately found some time for a brief Q&A.
What do you look for in a student who is interested in joining the men’s basketball team? Are height and physical strength a requisite?
Expectations of amazingly tall players with superhuman strength and massive muscles are just stereotypes.
Height is not always a bonus. There are many tall players who are worth nothing compared to other skillful, yet shorter competitors. What we really look for when signing people is that winning attitude.
One that encompasses dedication, commitment, success and most importantly fun!
Speaking from personal experience, it isn’t always your height that determines whether you can play basketball or not. When a fresher comes through the gym door for trials, we look for basic and simple basketball fundamentals, as well as a good attitude and full respect to all the members of the team and coaching staff. It is a very competitive league we play in and it is essential to field a strong squad, hence why we make cuts and additions wherever deemed necessary.
Most of us still have our post-summer beer bellies, but it is down to our management to get back into shape as fast as possible. We are all on the same boat here, and we will work together throughout the season in order to achieve the best results we can.
Since you have been part of KU’s basketball team from Year One, how strong do you think the current team is and how does it compare with the past two years?
Keeping in mind the fact that we still have no coach to make our training sessions more worthwhile, the team has potential and capability of achieving great results this season. However, the kind of competition and skill level brought by teams such as Buckinghamshire University and Chichester University makes it a tough challenge.
Being on the team since my first year at Kingston, I can honestly say that the League winning and Cup finalist team of two years ago is of a completely different caliber to the current squad. Height was on our side back then and so was athletic ability. However, so as not to discredit our current bunch of dedicated and committed players, we are doing very well with a 5 per cent, 2 out of 4 games won. The losses could have been avoided, but we suffered because of a lack of players due to injuries.
Which are the main advantages and disadvantages of the current team?
Starting positive, the main advantage on this year’s team is the fact that every single one of us gets along well with each other. On the court we are all one, if someone makes a mistake we all do, so there is a lot of support available, seeing as we are not all born with talents.
Hard work and perseverance is what create a lasting impression on yourselves and your opponents, allowing you to always have space for improvement.
A disadvantage on the other hand, is the fact that we have quite a short team: apart from three men on the squad the rest are all quite short (including myself).
But this is something that we can work on; we might not have height, but we have speed, skill and basketball knowledge that we use to our advantage and implement it in game situations in order to achieve success
How important is the presence of cougars and fans? As a player yourself, how does it feel like when you hear people cheering for you throughout a game?
Having support from our loyal cougars is quite exhilarating, and when the stands are packed with people cheering us on an incredible feeling takes you!
So I ask anyone who loves the game, plays or even laughs at it to come on down and try it out, you never know what you got till you got it.
This goes out to all my beautiful fans and supporters of Kingston University!
If you want an exciting game of skill, teamwork and sportsmanship – as well as strong hunky men -come along!
We will make sure that every minute you watch us for is worth your while.
Cheer for our boys next Wednesday at Kingston College, 8:00 pm