Alban Hysa (#15, shooting guard) is the only Staten Island Tech student on the boys varsity basketball team. Since he was a little boy watching his cousin play in the park, Hysa has always wanted to be great at the game. He started playing when he was in the third grade, and played on the “Saint A’s” travel team since the eighth grade.
Hysa started his journey with the MSIT basketball team as a sophomore. “I wanted to join the team because I felt like I could make an impact,” Hysa said. The team wasn’t what he expected, but it turned out to be a great fit. “He didn’t start with us as a freshman, I guess because he really wanted to concentrate on his grades and that says a lot about the kid as far as his priorities,” said the director of the basketball program, coach Charles Donohue. He believes Hysa does a great job representing the team, and is a valued player because of his work ethic and dedication. “He leads by example,” Donohue said while describing Hysa’s leadership. Hysa lives in Brooklyn, but shows up on time to practice every day, and to coach, this shows the utmost commitment. “It’s the kind of commitment we want to instill in all of the guys,” Donohue stated. Hysa says his goal is to score more points, and be more of a leader. “I’m a senior now, so I think that I should help lead. We have a very young team… I’d like to be a better leader to help the team.” Donohue describes Hysa as a talented, team oriented player that every coach wishes they had, and continued by saying the Hysa does a great job of juggling a sport, a lifestyle, school, and family. “He’s a very valuable part of what we do.”
Sophomore year, Steve Pipkin (#3, point guard/shooting guard) started his friendship with Hysa on the junior varsity basketball team, and now, they have started their final season as teammates. Over the years, Pipkin has seen Hysa grow as a player, and says his greatest strength is shooting. “He is very good at shooting, one of the best shooters on the team.” Pipkin says as a shooter, Hysa is a nine out of ten. Working together on the team, Hysa was always known to help teammates, and show them plays if they were unclear. “ Alban, he would love to help others, and shows them step by step where they need to be,” Pipkin said while describing Hysa interaction with other players. They all crack jokes and interact like any family would. “It’s been surprising because [the McKee players] are like my family now,” Hysa said. During basketball season, he spends more time with the team than with his real family, again, showing his dedication and love for the team. “He’s a good guy, just an overall good guy,” Pipkin stated. He and Hysa look forward to their last season and hope to take the borough and city championships this year.
Along with interacting with varsity players, Hysa interacts with underclassmen on the junior varsity team as well. Because the two teams have practice together, there is a lot of time to influence the younger players, and Hysa does a great job doing that. “He’s a great shooter, good teammate, and a great leader,” said Christian Bruno, a sophomore on the varsity team. Whether it’s a couple moves, shooting, or just helping during practice, Hysa is always teaching them something. “He’s always into the game, he doesn’t give up, and he’s always trying his hardest on the court,” Bruno continued. “We feed into that energy.” The junior varsity players see how much Hysa cares about the game, and Bruno said it makes them want to play harder. “I’ve heard stories that the underclassmen look up to me… That’s a big deal,” Hysa stated. He feels blessed to be looked up to by the underclassmen the way he is, and wants them to know that he’s a human being and has to work hard just like anyone else. His dedication to the team, and the game is clear by the way he inspires his younger peers.
As his last year on the team comes closer and closer to the end, it becomes more and more clear that “ball is life” for Hysa. He would love to play in college, but of course, has his education as top priority. We look forward to cheering the team and Hysa on, and seeing him finish strong.
By Baaba Annan