This year’s men’s basketball team is different from any other team on campus and most teams in the country.
Head coach Carl Danzig has coached his son, senior Ross Danzig, since 2011, but now the duo is joined by a new member of the team — someone who they have known for 18 years. The new team member is first-year Ethan Danzig, Carl’s second son.
Ethan was a member of three Lackawanna League and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District II championship teams at Abington Heights High School while averaging 12 points, six rebounds and three assists per game his senior year.
Ethan is unproven at the collegiate level, whereas Ross and Carl both have had success.
Through three seasons together at Scranton, Ross and Carl have combined for two Landmark Conference championships (2012 and 2014) and an elite eight appearance in the NCAA tournament (2012).
After nearly a month of practice, Ethan said he feels much more comfortable on the court with family members on the same team.
“I’ve been waiting 18 years to play with my older brother and play for my dad,” Ethan said. “I just can’t believe it finally happened.”
He said it has been an easy transition to play for his father for the first time.
“I grew up coming to practices and watching how it goes, so I understand what he expects and how he runs practice, so it’s not much of a change for me,” he said.
Ethan said that if all three family members were in their primes, he believes Ross would win in a game of one-on-one.
“My dad is strictly inside, whereas Ross can do everything, and I’m strictly a shooter,” he said.
Ethan has quite a basketball role model in Ross, who is already one of the best all-around players in University history.
Ross is the 16th leading scorer in school history and was voted Landmark Conference Player of the Year last season.
Ross said his mindset definitely changed this season now that his younger brother is on the team.
“I’m definitely a little more conscientious of how I’m acting around him, and you always try to be a role model for your little brother now more so than ever,” Ross said. “He’s pretty good on his own too, so I’m not too worried about him.”
Ross has already racked up awards as a senior before setting foot on the court this season. He was named preseason second-team All-American by D3hoops.com and was selected as one of the top 24 players in the nation by DIII News Oct. 10.
He said he hopes Ethan shows their dad enough game to earn playing time so they can be on the court together.
“I’m holding him (Ethan) to a higher standard. I expect a lot out of him, and I want the best for him, and I want him to play well because I realize that I only have one year to play with him,” Ross said. “I want us to have these memories.”
Ross said, out of respect, he would have to choose his dad in his prime to win out of the three in a game of one-on-one.
Carl said he demands his two sons call him dad, not coach. He said Ross and Ethan have always gotten along well and have great chemistry.
Ross and Ethan frequently eat lunch together in The DeNaples Center and, occassionally Carl joins them.
Carl said he looks at this time spent coaching and hanging out with his sons as “bonus time.”
“Most kids go away to college and they’re done, they move out, they’re four years removed from going into the real world,” Carl said. “I actually get four bonus years with my guys, and so I feel very fortunate to have this time with them and continue to build our relationship as father-son.”
Carl also has another son, Jackson, who is a first-year student at Abington Heights High School. Jackson is the starting goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team and will play junior varsity basketball this season.
Carl said, even though he is only a first-year student in high school, Jackson says he is setting his sights higher than Division III Scranton.
“He threatens he’s not (going to attend The University). He says he’s going scholarship somewhere, so we’ll see.”
Carl, citing factual evidence, said he would win out of the three Scranton Danzigs in a game of one-on-one in his prime. Carl has 1,732 career points at Baker University.
“Well, right now I am the leading scorer in the household … that is a fact,” Carl said. “In my prime? … Oh clearly it’s me.”
Carl may want to taper his confidence, however, as Ross is closing in on his dad’s scoring mark with 1,406 career points at Scranton. If Ross continues his scoring average of 20.6 points per game from last season, he will break the Scranton all-time scoring mark of 1,906 points set by Gene Mumford in 1971.
Speculation aside, one thing is for sure. The Danzigs are a basketball family.
Nov. 13, 2014