Home Sports Buckley returns with a vengeance

Buckley returns with a vengeance

by Archives October 14, 2008

Leave it to Stingers forward Dwayne Buckley to provide the heroics at the 43rd annual Nike Invitational men’s basketball tournament at Concordia last weekend.
Buckley hit the tournament’s first basket 31 seconds into Friday’s opening round win against Lethbridge.
And then he hit the tournament’s final two shots from the free-throw line with under 10 seconds left in overtime during the final on Saturday night against St. Francis Xavier. Oh, and by the way, those two free throws were also the deciding points in the 102-101 victory.
Buckley wasn’t named MVP – that honour went to his brother Damian – but if you consider the fact that these two games were the first the older Buckley brother played since suffering a season-ending knee injury and rehabbing the entire summer, you get a better indication of how impressive he was.
“I couldn’t sleep [Thursday night], I was so excited,” he said after Friday night’s game. “I was out for eight-to-nine months and wanted to get back on the court and once I got out there it felt good. Everything came back,” he said.
Buckley tore his ACL in an exhibition game against Maryland and missed the entire season. In the three games he did play he had 28 points in a win over Illinois, 23 against Arizona and 15 at the half when he got hurt against the Terrapins.
Near the end of the season and for the playoffs, he asked to be able to dress, take warm up and sit on the bench with the team despite not being on the active roster and knowing he wasn’t going to play.
“It killed me inside,” he said about having to watch the entire season. “It was tough watching, but I learned a lot because I was helping out the coaching staff. I think it helped my game a lot, but it hurt to watch,” Buckley said.
So when it came down to finally being able to return to the court, Buckley didn’t want to watch anymore. Coach John Dore said he let Buckley decide how much he would play when it came to his first game back. In the second half of his first game back, he didn’t go back to the bench.
“We let him determine how much he’s going to play and when he’s going to play,” Dore said. “When the game is on the line, maybe I have to be a little bit smarter because he’s always going to want to play.”
Buckley sat himself out of the Stingers’ game against the University of Virginia Cavaliers in August. “It was a good decision on his part,” Dore said.
In that second half of the first game, Buckley’s brother Damian fouled out of the game with more than half of the fourth quarter to go and the Stingers trailing.
Buckley, an experienced fifth-year player, turned into the team’s leader on the court and became the person who wanted the ball in his hands.
“[Buckley] led our team to victory [Friday],” Dore said. “Some other guys might have scored but he scored, got fouled, rebounded and defended. He means so much in so many different ways to the team that words can’t describe how encompassing his presence is to the good of the team,” he said.
“He understands the game, he is a great team guy and a great leader,” he said.
“He leads by example with hard work. He has a great love for the game and for his teammates. It’s a character thing with him. He works hard, and wants to excel in everything he does.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment