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Squakeyes 2-0 on season

BY KYLIE SEBERT | FEBRUARY 23, 2010 7:30 AM

Charlie Anderson/The Daily Iowan
Members of the Squakeyes, a Men’s Open League intramural basketball team, practice in the Field House on Monday. The team name was coined by a friend of the team.
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Senior Sean Cunningham and freshman Evan Okrzesik have taken different roads to becoming Squakeyes.

Currently 2-0 in the Men’s Open intramural basketball League, the team is made up of five freshmen, one sophomore, and one senior. And despite being undefeated so far, the team isn’t overconfident.

“The only problem is that we are a bunch of freshmen for the most part, and I know these guys are very experienced from high school, but I am afraid as this goes on, if we run into some big strong boys, we might get pushed around a little,” said Cunningham, the lone senior. “Even if we do run into a physical team in the tournament, it will be a good game, and we will not get blown out.”

Okrzesik, from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., leads the Squakeyes at point guard.

“He’s so talented, I don’t know how he isn’t playing college basketball,” Cunningham said. “It seems like sometimes he won’t take a shot to make it more fair, but I have no doubt he could score every time down the court.”

The Squakeyes won their first game by 12 points over Shake ’N’ Bake on Feb. 4, but the squad’s second victory was a 30-point blowout over the Monstars on Feb. 11.

Despite being made up of mostly freshmen, Cunningham said the Squakeyes are also deep. The players have high expectations for the tournament in March.

For the senior, finally getting a chance to play basketball is an opportunity he relishes.

“It’s great that in my last year of school, I finally have a group of buddies who like playing basketball and are talented,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a good experience.”

However, the modest bunch also credit Cunningham, whom they’ve nicknamed the “veteran,” for the defensive awareness he brings to the team.

“Sean is a great shooter and our best defensive player,” freshman George Mack said. “He’s always all over the boards.”

The Squakeyes, led by “coach” freshman Mike Davalle, get together twice a week to run plays at the Field House. Mack said Davalle gives pep talks before the game and takes charge of the team.

“He’s our inspiration,” Okrzesik said. “He draws the right plays when we need them and helps keep us focused.”

Although Davalle is there to take charge, Cunningham described the team as “clowns” because of their joking nature. On the court, though, the game is serious business.

Off the hardwood, they are close friends. Before every game, the teammates eat at Hillcrest as part of their pregame ritual dinner. Perhaps adding to their chemistry comes is the bond they share following a win.

“After each game, the team goes to Sean’s house, and we have a postgame celebration,” Okrzesik said. “We are all good friends outside of basketball, and I actually went to high school with two of the guys.”

Looking to continue the current winning streak after having a bye week, the Squakeyes will take on Chris Brown Beat Down at the Field House at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.


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