Marcus Azor says he continues to replay his team’s Little East Conference (LEC) tournament championship win in his head.
“It has been replaying since the final buzzer went off,” said Azor, a junior guard from Brockton, Massachusetts, who led the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men’s basketball team to a 108-68 win on Thursday, March 4 against Keene State.
Azor, who finished his team’s final contest with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, was named the LEC’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Corsairs to an 8-2 record this winter. The junior guard averaged 21.0 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game in back-to-back conference tournament games this month, and is already looking ahead to next season with hopes his team will continue its recent momentum once the 2021-22 season tips-off.
“I have no doubt in my mind that my teammates and I will be motivated next year to continue this momentum,” said Azor.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Marcus Azor to discuss his team’s first conference tournament title since 2009, as well as how the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team was able to improve from one game to the next.
Tell me about winning the LEC Championship earlier this month. Are you still replaying the game in your head?
Yes, I am.
We were so close last season to winning the conference crown, but came up short (against Western Connecticut), so that loss provided us with extra motivation. Most of the 2019-20 team returned this winter, so we were confident that we could achieve our goal of winning the conference crown.
Cutting down the net is truly a moment I will never forget.
In addition to helping your team win the LEC title, you were also tabbed the Most Outstanding Player. What does this particular honor mean to you?
I owe this honor to my teammates and coaches for challenging me every while giving me the confidence to play my game. Everyone played a huge role in the tournament, so the award could have gone to any member of the team.
All in all, this is truly a special honor to me.
You and the team had a successful shortened season, winning eight of 10 contests. How did you and the team improve from one game to the next?
It always starts off with practice, we make each other work extremely hard, but also ask everyone to put forth their best effort in every drill so we can be more prepared for our next game. And after games conclude, we go over our mistakes through a film review with an emphasis on improving them in our next practice, so we will be better prepared for our next game.
What did you and the team learn from your two setbacks this winter against Eastern Connecticut and Keene State? How did those loses fuel an eventual title run?
Those losses were disappointing because we were leading throughout each contest. We learned that we shouldn’t get comfortable with any sort of lead and continue to be aggressive – we needed to attack when necessary, and I felt that we exhibited that approach in our championship game against Keene State.
With the season officially over, what will you be doing over the next few weeks and months to prepare for next season? And do you imagine you will enter next year’s campaign with additional motivation to continue your squad’s recent success as a senior?
I’ll be resting the bumps and bruises from the season before returning to the gym to prepare for next season.
Everyone is determined to win the conference title again and make a lengthy run through in the 2022 NCAA D-III Tournament.