Sparked by Hun Alum, TCNJ Star Carpenter, Majeski Foundation Wins Summer Hoops Opener
TOUGH AS NIALL: Niall Carpenter dribbles upcourt during his career with the Hun School boys’ basketball team. Last Wednesday, Carpenter, now a rising senior star guard at The College of New Jersey, helped Majeski Foundation defeat RRBB 45-37 in the opening game for both teams in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Carpenter scored 11 points in the victory for Majeski, the TCNJ men’s hoops entry in the league. In summer hoops action last Monday, NJ Spiritwear defeated Team NRGY49-42, Apex Sports topped RRBB 53-46, and Loyaltees cruised to a 64-32 win over Olives. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Former Hun School boys’ basketball star Niall Carpenter enjoyed a productive homecoming as he returned to town last Wednesday evening to play in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.
Competing for Majeski Foundation, a team comprised of players from The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, rising TCNJ senior guard Carpenter tallied 11 points as the squad pulled away to a 45-37 win over RRBB in the season opener for both teams.
Carpenter enjoyed the scene at the John Witherspoon Middle School gym as he had a Princeton homecoming.
“It is always fun to be back in town; I see a lot of familiar faces and guys calling out my name, just talking to me on the court,” said Carpenter.
“That is what basketball is about, having fun and being around people that you know is going to make it that much more fun.”
The Majeski squad didn’t have much fun in the early stages of the contest as they dug as 20-9 hole against RRBB, a team that includes several TCNJ alums.
“This is our first time playing together since the last time during the season,” said Carpenter.
“We came off a little slow, we weren’t used to running up and down and knowing where guys usually were.”
Getting up to speed, Majeski reeled off a 19-6 run to take a 28-26 lead at halftime and then pulled away to the win the second half.
“We just told each other that we have got to talk,” said Carpenter. “We got rolling at that 10 minute mark and we reminded one another what we do and that we are good.”
It was good to beat the RRBB squad and its core of former TCNJ standouts.
“It is always great playing against the alums who went through the same things that we went through in practice,” said Carpenter, who embraced former TCNJ star and current assistant coach Eric Murdock Jr. after the game.
“It is good to see them still on the court, that gives us younger guys hope that we will still be playing.”
As Carpenter looks ahead to his senior season in college, he is determined to be a mentor to the squad’s less experienced performers.
“I am just trying to be a leader, trying to show the younger guys how we do things,” said the 6’3, 172-pound Carpenter, who averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game for the Lions last winter. “I always try to be a threat and stay aggressive. My main focus this year is just making everyone around me better.”
Carpenter sees classmate Randy Walko, who scored a game-high 23 points for Majeski against RRBB, as a big threat for the Lions.
“I love playing with Randy, we work out together every day,” said Carpenter of Walko who scored 31 points as Majeski fell 55-51 to NJ Spiritwear to move to 1-1.
“Randy is one of the hardest workers in our league, if not the country. Every time he steps on the floor, I know he is going to have a great performance.”
In Carpenter’s view, competing in the summer league could help TCNJ have a great winter.
“We are probably the youngest players in this league; playing against bigger bodies, playing against older, more experienced players is only going to make us better in the long run,” said Carpenter.
“That is what this league is about, just getting a chance to play with each other so by the time the season comes, we will be ready and everything will be cleaned up.”