Four players ripped the Scranton basketball record books to shreds this season. All four are captains and leaders. On the men’s side, senior Ross Danzig eclipsed 1,500 career points and junior Brendan Boken broke the 1,000 career point mark. For the Lady Royals, senior Meredith Mesaris also reached 1,500 career points and broke the all-time record for made free throws, while senior Lindsay Fluehr broke the all-time record for career assists.
All four attributed much of their collegiate success to their teammates. The two pairs said they frequently have moments of nonverbal chemistry on the court and cannot even explain it themselves. Their only reaction is to run back down the court laughing because they cannot believe how they read the other player’s mind.
Boken proves how great this group is by being seemingly the least accomplished with only 1,000 points, although he is only a junior. He said he did not know what to expect when he first arrived at The University, but is extremely grateful for having such unselfish teammates.
“I scored 100 points in high school (Loyola High School in Los Angeles, California), and I played with a bunch of guys who played Division I, so I definitely didn’t think this was in the cards for me,” Boken said. “It’s a pretty cool thing to happen, but you know it wouldn’t happen without your teammates working hard for you as well. It goes both ways.”
Boken said he had doubts of his own when he started, but always wanted to outwork the next guy to improve.
“When I started my first game here at Scranton I wanted to prove to, not everyone, but myself that I was going to be successful here in college … I would say hard work is my best attribute,” Boken said.
Danzig lightheartedly said that he and Mesaris talk a lot of trash about out-scoring the other and is thankful that the season is coming to a close so he can retain his advantage. His motivation always revolves around trying to be part of a successful team and he changes his role based on what the team needs.
“Every year I’ve actually played a different kind of style. My sophomore and junior year it was more scoring, freshman year was more of a defend kind of year and now this year I’m more of a facilitator with guys like Brendan, Justin (Klingman) and Marcus (Thomas) scoring the way they’re scoring,” Danzig said. “It’s just a more enjoyable way to play the game for me.”
Danzig said, as the coach’s son, he feels like he has been part of the team since he was nine years old. He said having an opportunity to watch so many great players at Scranton has given him motivation to improve his own game. Even after winning two Landmark Conference championships in three years, Danzig wants just one more.
“As far as getting remembered, the best thing I could possibly do is to hang another banner in this gym and then every time I walk in the gym I’ll be able to point up and say, ‘That’s me, that’s my squad, we did that,’” he said. “That’s been my goal as long as I’ve been a part of the Scranton family.”
Mesaris said she enjoys watching Boken play because of his crafty post moves, though she said most of the time all she has to do is get a pass from Fluehr and lay the ball in. She said it is impossible for her to complain when she has a passer like Fluehr. Fluehr serves up points on a silver platter to all players, including Mesaris.
“We joke around literally every practice saying like, ‘I wouldn’t have my points if you didn’t pass me the ball’ and ‘you wouldn’t have your assists if I didn’t put the ball in the basket.’ It’s all just how we work together,” Mesaris said. “I think we’ve been doing pretty well with that.”
Mesaris was not always pouring in points with ease, however, and came to Scranton midway through her first year after leaving Division I American University. Danzig is grateful to have this time advantage over Mesaris to cling to his scoring edge. Mesaris said her hard work after coming to Scranton enabled her to get back on the right track.
“I transferred here from a Division I school and it was kind of like a rude awakening in a way because I wasn’t getting the time I thought I was going to be getting,” she said. “It’s almost like seeing your dreams fall before you, like you thought your time was over, but then this opportunity opened up (at Scranton) and you just have to work hard and just know that you are a good player and you can do what you have to do.”
Mesaris said the team this year can win another Landmark Conference championship and hopefully make the Final Four, if not win a national championship. The team made it to the Sweet Sixteen last season after winning the conference title.
Fluehr said her initial motivation at Scranton came from proving others wrong.
“When I came in as a freshman, Coach (Mike) Strong didn’t really think that I was going to play that much; he told me that there were two point guards in front of me. So I think that had motivated me,” Fluehr said. “I could tell within the first two weeks of practice that they (the other point guards) saw me as a threat … That really motivated me personally.”
Fluehr, like the other members of the “fab four” wants to be remembered more for her team’s success than individual records.
“It’s great to be remembered for individual accomplishments, but it’s a lot sweeter to be remembered for a team that made a Final Four run or a team that made a national championship run,” Fluehr said.
Both duos will prepare for playoffs in the upcoming week and will try to continue their illustrious basketball careers.
Unfortunately, Danzig, Mesaris and Fluehr will graduate after this season. At least the Scranton family will still have Boken, even if he does only have 1,000 points.
Feb. 20, 2015