For the Fairfield Men’s Basketball team, there is no question that the leader of the group is Amadou Sidibe ‘16. Sidibe, the 6-foot-8-inch, 215 pound forward, will serve as team captain for the second straight year, and for good reason. He is the man that the younger players look up to, and he’s a force on the court, as evidenced by his team-leading 212 rebounds last season.

When asked what it felt like to be named team captain for the second year in a row, Sidibe responded in his usual calm, cool demeanor: “It’s a pretty good feeling compared to last year.

“Last year was my first time and it was a big deal, but now I’m more experienced; I know what to do and how to handle the situation, so I’m definitely ready for this year,” he added.

As Sidibe is an experienced basketball player, the memory of last year’s horrendous 7-25 record must have weighed heavily on him over the summer. However, Sidibe was optimistic when asked about his expectations for the upcoming season, saying he “definitely” anticipates a better year.

“I mean, definitely a winning season, a better season than we had last year,” Sidibe said. “I feel like we had a good team last year, but I feel like we have a better team this year, so definitely getting that gel with everyone on the team and having a great year is what’s important,” he said.

Becoming a leader can take time, making it a positive thing that Sidibe has had time to perfect the role over the past year and a half. Entering the season, Sidibe brings his experience from last year (not to mention some things he picked up along the way) to the table.

When asked what he learned as a leader from last year to this year, Sidibe was candid as usual, saying he learned “how to deal with a little adversity … Like when things aren’t going your way, how are you going to handle it?  How are you going to react? When your back’s against the wall, what are you going to do to get out of that situation? That’s what I learned the most.”

He certainly had numerous chances to learn from such situations, considering how poorly the team played last season, but his optimistic response is commendable.

Hopefully, the more-experienced Sidibe will be able to use these experiences to galvanize his team into performing up to the expectations he has for them.

Being named the captain of a team, regardless of the sport or activity, is nothing to thumb one’s nose at, and Sidibe understands it is a tremendous honor. When asked how it felt that men’s basketball Head Coach Sydney Johnson has enough trust in him to name him captain for a second year, Sidibe said, “It’s definitely a good feeling, to know that he believes in me and believes in the program.”

He went on to explain that being named captain won’t make him relax and let others pick up the slack; rather, it will energize him and make him play better in order to repay the trust he has been given.

“That belief and trust motivates you to work harder because I don’t want to let [Coach Johnson] down, and I don’t want to let my teammates down,” Sidibe said. “It’s definitely a good feeling.”

Things are certainly looking up for the Stags, who will hope to improve on last season with a strong showing from their captain. The highly motivated Sidibe will look to improve on his team-leading rebound total and his point total. Should he succeed, it will be hard to prevent the Stags from having a much improved year.

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