Jordan Pryor, business management senior, has seen a lot of changes over his last few years on Westminster’s men’s basketball team. Although postseason was out of the question for Pryor and the rest of the team, he still managed to find motivation as the season came to an end and hit two major accomplishments to finish out his college career.
Westminster’s basketball team is currently transitioning from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. The team finished their first season of transitioning after playing Colorado Mesa on Feb. 26.
“We’ve all just accepted that we’re not going to have a postseason for the next couple of years,” Pryor said. “A lot of the guys are pretty positive about it, and they know it’s more about making the best out of the next few years and representing Westminster well so that when the time does come for postseason, we’re ready to go.”
The basketball team’s transition to NCAA Division II is a three-year process that began in the 2015–16 academic year and will end when Westminster becomes an active member of NCAA Division II in Fall 2018, according to Westminster athletics’ website.
Pryor said it’s a “bummer” not being able to play postseason, but he said it was better for the program in the bigger picture.
Teammate Zerrion Payton, junior communication major, agreed and said transitioning to NCAA “is better competition and will be more structured.”
Pryor hit a 75-foot game winning shot for Westminster against Western New Mexico a few weeks ago, saying it was the highlight of his career. The video of the shot grabbed the attention of KSL News and was ranked the number one play on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top Ten.
“Quincy Bair [teammate] threw it to me, and I knew I had time for one dribble to line it up and then I just let it go,” Pryor said. “I lost it in the rafters and the lights and thought for sure it was going to hit the ceiling, but then I saw it come down and hit the backboard and go in.”
Pryor had over 900 total points to end his college career, even with the removal of his appendix a few weeks ago.
“It’s pretty cool, especially knowing that I’ve put in my time here for four years,” Pryor said. “It doesn’t really matter who scores the ball as long as Westminster scores the ball. It’s cool to get up there [in points], but in the big picture of things, it’s low on my list of things that I’m worried about.”
Pryor said these “little victories,” as well as his teammates, helped keep him motivated, especially without the postseason in the picture. Not only did his team keep him motivated throughout the season, but also he looked to keep them motivated, as well.
“I can see when I work hard my teammates also work hard,” Pryor said. “Knowing that you have to put in the work to have individual success, which also allows your team to have success, is definitely motivating.”
Pryor will look into pursuing his basketball career after graduating with a degree in business management, but said he isn’t worried about it much and just wants to make the best out of his senior year.