Sports

Lakeland Senior Captain Motivates Teammates to Improve

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Lakeland’s Patrick Morelli dribbles across halfcourt against Mahopac in the consolation game of Walter Panas’ tournament. Credits: Rob DiAntonio
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Known for his work ethic and leadership, senior guard/forward Patrick Morelli will lead an experienced Lakeland basketball team as a captain this season. He was also a member of the football team.

How old were you when you started playing basketball and how did you get started?

I started playing basketball when I was 3 years old after watching my brother—who was 5 at the time—play for the Shrub Oak Athletic Club.

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What do you think are your strengths as a basketball player?  

I feel like my strengths as a basketball player are my aggressiveness on defense and my unselfishness on offense. I believe that defense really is the key to every game and I work as hard as possible to create confusion and havoc for the opposing team. I also value assists as much, if not more than scoring, which is a huge key to my success on the court. 

As a senior captain on the team this year, how do you see your role as a leader? 

As one of the three captains on my team, I feel as if it is our job to push our teammates to work hard and get better each and every day.

What are your individual and team goals for the season? What does Lakeland basketball need to do to be successful?

My individual goals are exactly the same as my goals for the team. We are all competitors and will do whatever is necessary to win. If we all work hard and play a team game, there is no doubt in my mind that the wins will come.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates? 

My favorite pregame ritual is definitely listening to music in the locker room before the game. It is a great way to loosen up and have fun before each game.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My brother, Michael, has been my biggest role model. I have watched him play basketball for years and years, always following in his footsteps. He has continually pushed me to improve through our competitive one-on-one battles. He has definitely taught me that hard work will pay off in the long run.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know? 

I’m a big time movie watcher. If I’m not out playing a sport somewhere, there is a very good chance that I am home watching a movie.

Do you plan on continuing basketball in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you decide on that college? 

I love basketball, however, I do not plan on playing basketball in college. Although, I will definitely get in as many pick-up games as possible.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why? 

I want to study history in college. I enjoy learning about the past and history has always come easy to me, so I would like to teach history at some point after college.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

Definitely LeBron James. I know a lot of people don’t like him but I personally love the way he plays. My favorite sports team is definitely the New York Yankees, who have had a couple rough years, but the future looks bright.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game? 

My favorite pump-up music is without a doubt anything by AC/DC. From Hells Bells to Thunderstruck, you can’t go wrong.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

It would definitely be to fly because I would be able to get everywhere way quicker and would never have to sit in traffic again.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

It would definitely be Australia because I have always wondered about the Outback and have heard that Australia is beautiful.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

A sandwich from Lakeland Deli is definitely my favorite food to eat before a game.

Best place to eat in Shrub Oak and why?

The best place to eat in Shrub Oak is without a doubt Bob-B-Q’s. There has yet to be anything from there that I have not liked.

What advice would you give to a young basketball player growing up in Shrub Oak? 

I would tell any young basketball player to work hard and practice as much as you can. It will always pay off at some point.

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