January 20, 2016

Dedicating Himself to Getting Stronger and Quicker, PHS Alum Levy Playing Bigger Role for F&M Hoops


MARSHALLING HIS RESOURCES: Lior Levy dribbles the ball in recent action during his junior season with the Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball team. Levy, a former Princeton High standout, is averaging 2.5 points and 1.7 rebounds a game off the bench for the 17th-ranked Diplomats, who are off to a 13-2 start. (Photo Courtesy of F&M Athletic Communications)

Heading into his junior season with the Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball team, Lior Levy decided to put his nose to the grindstone.

“I was getting in the weight room a lot; this offseason is the hardest I have ever worked in terms of building up my body and getting a little stronger and faster,” said Levy, a former Princeton High boys’ hoops standout.

“I actually got in touch with one of the Princeton University trainers, Jason Gallucci. He gave me weekly workouts to do, which I never had done before.”

Levy’s increased commitment was prompted by a sophomore campaign that saw his playing time decrease from his freshman year, playing in 12 games and getting seven points last winter after making 13 appearances and totaling 24 points in his debut season. This was doubly frustrating for Levy as he wanted to play a greater role for a successful Diplomats squad, a Division III power.

“I didn’t get much time which was too bad,” said forward/center Levy, reflecting on his sophomore campaign. “As a team we did really well. We were 20-6 and we were apparently the last team out of the NCAA tournament.”

The work that Levy put in over the offseason is paying dividends this winter as he has emerged as a key reserve for the Diplomats.

“The coaches have always told me is that my offensive game is not a problem,” said the 6’8, 230-pound Levy, who is averaging 2.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 7.2 minutes a game in 13 appearances off the bench for the 17th-ranked Diplomats.

“They wanted me to get to a point where I am not a liability on defense. I  think working hard, getting a little bit faster and a little bit stronger has helped. I am still working on it.”

With two seasons under his belt, Levy feels a strong investment in the F&M program.

“Now that I am an upperclassman I feel like it is a little more like my team,” said Levy. “I love my team, they are all good guys.”

Levy feels he is well suited for the role of providing a spark off the bench, having scored seven points in nine minutes in 63-57 win over Ursinus on December 1 and tallying eight points in 13 minutes in a 74-54 loss to Carnegie Mellon on December 30.

“In terms of the big men on the team I am probably the best shooter coming off the bench,” said Levy, whose father, Howard, was known for his touch around the basket during his career with the Princeton University men’s hoops team in the mid-1980s and remains the program leader in career field goal percentage (.647).

“Giving us a quick basket is definitely something I can bring, which I think the coaches are looking for.”

Earlier this month, Levy was part of some coaching history as he helped F&M defeat Swarthmore 57-54 on January 9 to give Diplomat head coach Glenn Robinson his 900th career victory.

“That was pretty cool; first of all, it was only two undefeated teams left in conference play so it was a big game,” said Levy.

“Obviously the 900th win was incredible. There was a packed gym because so many alumni came back.”

It has been cool for Levy to learn from Robinson. “He has been around the game so long, there are so many things in practice that coach points out and people say wow, we didn’t think about that,” said Levy. “He is usually right.”

The Diplomats are on the right track, having won six straight games after beating Washington College 82-72 last Saturday in improving to 13-2 overall and 8-0 in Centennial Conference play.

“We have almost our whole team back from last year; we were pretty successful last year and we can build off of that,” said Levy.

“I think now we are in the middle of the year and we are really starting to click offensively and defensively. I think maybe our best offensive game was the game against McDaniel (a 59-43 win on January 7) and I think our best defensive game was against Swarthmore.”

In Levy’s view, the Diplomats have the game to get into the NCAA tourney.

“That is the plan, doing well in the Centennial and getting the NCAA bid,” said Levy. “It is looking good right now, we have to keep going.”

For Levy, going to F&M has been a very good experience, on and off the court.

“I really like it here; I have a good group of friends,” said Levy, a government major, who is thinking about going to law school someday.

“The basketball team is very close and that along with being in a successful program has been fun.”