Senior Eastern Mennonite University basketball player RaShawn Latimer (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run) was ready.
“Over the summer I played a lot, I trained a lot,” he said. “I had a job for the first half of the summer, but then the second half I knew I had to get ready for my senior year of basketball.”
With an explosive breakout performance in EMU’s win against Hood – a season-high of 24 points – he more than doubled his cumulative points scored in the team’s first three games.
“I felt well,” Latimer said. “I mean, the team and I, we played great together, pulled out a win; that was the main thing.”
The team did play well together; with assists on 32 of their 37 scored field goals, they capitalized on their on-court chemistry.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors now,” Latimer said, “and we’ve been playing together for four years now, so like we just share the ball really well together. We know what it takes to win now. Instead of all of our individual performances, we play together so we can get the win. It doesn’t really matter who scores the most or who has the best game – it matters if we win or not.”
After a summer spent training and with three years of collegiate experience under his belt, Latimer hopes he and his team will be able to win the ODAC title this season.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors who are graduating, and that’s been our goal since we started,” Latimer said. “I think we put it all together this year. Like in past years we’ve had injuries or we had to cut some people or something, but this year everyone’s back and healthy and I think we can make a play at the ODAC title – and then make a run in the NCAA.”
Head coach Kirby Dean has seen a lot of growth in Latimer over the years he has worked with him at EMU.
“RaShawn has shown maturation on and off the floor over the last four years, which has been a joy to be a part of,” said Dean.
Dean also appreciates the versatility of play Latimer brings to the team.
“His performance this year has been particularly impressive because he’s had to adjust his mentality from last season,” Dean explained. “Last year with all the injuries there was pressure for him to carry the offense while this year, with a healthy roster, he’s had to blend in with other capable scorers. He’s proven to be effective regardless of the situation.”
Latimer is majoring in recreation leadership and sports studies, with minors in psychology and coaching. He is currently exploring many options for life after college, ranging from pursuing a basketball career overseas, to joining the military, to coaching.
In the meantime, Latimer can enjoy one last season at EMU playing the game he loves.
“When I was a little kid, my dad would always put a ball in my hand,” Latimer said. “Just every year I love the game more and more – I just stuck to it and kept playing. I fell in love with it in middle school and high school, and then I came to college and got to work on my education while playing basketball. It’s been awesome.”