Stingers’ Men’s Basketball Team Staying Ready Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Coach Popovic Hopeful About Playing in the Fall

Coach Popovic has been keeping his team busy in quarantine. Photo John Ngala

The Stingers’ men’s basketball team has had to adapt to a new reality.

With Quebec still in lockdown, the team has not been able to meet and use the Concordia athletics complex. Coaches and players have been doing what they can to keep themselves prepared from home, including fitness training and individual drills.

“We’ve followed up with the players, just making sure they finished up their school year,” said coach Rastko Popovic. “We even started doing Zoom workouts for the last few weeks.”

Popovic has kept in touch with his players throughout the entirety of the quarantine, lending his support and being a sort of mentor to them.

“I’m not just their coach,” said Popovic. “I’m there to try to help them as much as I can with everything else, not just basketball.”

Popovic has put an emphasis on keeping his team active, both physically and mentally. He encourages his players to take this time in isolation to pursue different interests or passions.

“They have to use this pandemic as an opportunity to get better at something,” said Popovic. “If they’re not doing it, somebody else is doing it.”

“I’m not just their coach. I‘’m there to try to help them as much as I can with everything else, not just basketball.” —Rastko Popovic

The recruiting process has become more difficult as well. Without being able to meet recruits in person or attend workouts, Popovic and his staff have had to adapt.

“It’s been a lot of FaceTime calls instead of being able to sit down in person and the usual stuff,” said Popovic. “We recruit a few international players every year, so contacting them and getting to know them has definitely been different.”

There is still no word on whether there will be any university sports played in the fall semester.

According to Concordia Director of Recreation and Athletics D’Arcy Ryan, decisions on when and how university sports will go on in the fall will depend on directives from the government.

Despite numerous injuries, the team managed to finish as the second seed in the RSEQ regular season standings, with a 10-6 record in Popovic’s fifth year at the helm.

“We’re looking forward to next season,” said Popovic. “Or whenever we’re allowed to play again.”

Disclosure: Peter Vryonis is a current member of the Concordia Varsity Baseball Team