Captains’ Corner: Ryan Kriftcher and Matt Siegal

Aaron Bosgang, Staff Writer

Aaron Bosgang: I’m here with the two captains of the boys basketball team, Ryan Kriftcher and Matt Siegel.  How are you doing, guys?


Ryan Kriftcher: I’m doing great!


Matt Siegel: I’m awesome!  Let’s get to it!


AB: Alright!  For starters, when did you start playing basketball and what made you stick with it?


RK: I started playing when I was five years old.  I always loved watching my dad, uncle, and grandpa play, so they inspired me to play too.  Basketball has always come naturally for me, and that’s why I love it.


MS: For some reason at a really young age I just always loved basketball, according to my dad.  I played all different kinds of sports when I was a kid, but basketball was the one I was most dedicated to.  I just remember loving Allen Iverson and the fancy point guards that I really wanted to be like.  It was kind of like a fairytale.


AB: That’s cool!  I always wanted to be like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Absolutely no one can touch that skyhook.  As a captain, what do you guys want the team to focus on this season?


MS: As a whole, our goal as a team is to win the County Finals.  Out of all the three years I have been on varsity, I think this is our best shot.  However, the team knows it is a hard goal to accomplish.  So we try to focus on becoming a family, and not just a team.  We feel it is important to look at the little things that can make us stronger because that is what builds the big picture.


RK: I really want to focus on helping our team reach its greatest potential.  I believe that we have an incredible amount of talent and chemistry, so as long as we can keep the team focused we will do great.  I also want to stress how everyone on our team has an individual significance and importance to our team.  Everyone on the team is here for a reason and without them we are not the same.


AB: And with those goals, how do you get the team excited for games and focused on what the team sets out to do?


MS: Ryan and I like to reinforce our goal to win the County Finals by really just pushing our teammates in practice everyday in a positive way.  We do not want to be commanding.  We want everyone to feel like brothers.  That is how we try to look at things.  We end each practice with a [chant of] ‘family’ on the count of three.  The fact that we are all just playing basketball together really gets us pumped for the games.  We all love the energy we feel before that opening tip.


RK: Throughout practice, Matt and I will pull kids over to the side to let them know what we think will make them better.  Also, our team just has a great sense of enthusiasm and intensity most other teams lack.  We are all comfortable around each other and we know when it’s time to joke around and when it’s time to get serious.  For us, some music and each other is all we need to get ready for games.


AB: Nice, there is nothing like a little pre-game music!  A lot of players on the team this year are seniors, what are your thoughts on this being the last season for you, and how will you try to make it special?


RK: Most of the guys on the team have been playing together since fifth grade, so this is our last opportunity to come together and win a championship.  We are not going to settle for anything less than the best we can possibly be.


MS: Coach Dooley is doing a really great job so far getting everyone into the game and having a role.  But because it’s hard to play every senior so much in a game, we try to have fun in every practice so it feels like game situations.  So far this season, David Kobus and Oren Mizrahi have made this season special with the humor they share and the intelligence they bring on and off the court.


AB: Finally, let’s say there was some way to attain access to a three sided basketball court with three hoops.  Then, take Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan in their primes and have them play.  Who do you think would win?


MS: Well, out of those three, I think LeBron is the best only because with his body and athleticism combined.  It makes him a freak of nature.  However, I believe the best basketball player of all-time is either Allen Iverson or, “White Chocolate,” Jason Williams.  Williams is more skilled than any other basketball player.


RK: Well, I got to go with my man Kobe.  He has been my favorite player my whole life and after years and years of intense studying and analyzing, I have come to the conclusion that the Black Mamba is just too unstoppable.  Once he gets the ball, it’s all over.  Some things are just too easy for Kobe.


AB: Thanks for your time, and good luck this season!  Hopefully it lives up to yours, and the teams expectations.