HAMILTON, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Tonight, Syracuse men’s basketball takes on Colgate. Last year, the Raiders defeated the Orange for the first time since 1962, when John F. Kennedy was president of the United States.
In that win for ‘Gate, there was a 6’11 presence down low, in Jeff Woodward, a junior from Audubon, Pennsylvania. Woodward is someone that has been around for Colgate’s recent success. He is used to winning, thanks to winning three conference titles at Methacton High School.
“It’s kind of a familiar place for me,” Woodward said. “And it is kind of the expectation I hold myself to.”
As great as Woodward’s success has been on the basketball court, he found that and then some at Camp Ramapo, a camp that serves kids with special needs in Rhinebeck, N.Y., for five weeks. This was a job the psychology major found out about through a university email listserv. He applied, and got the job. This job, though, had no breaks.
“You are sleeping in the same bunks as them, you are eating with all of them,” Woodward said. “It really gives you an insight into their everyday lives, and how difficult it can be, but how special the kids are.”
In those five weeks, Woodward did a ton. He taught his new friends life lessons, cared and bathed them and did a plethora of activities. When Raiders head coach Matt Langel found out about Woodward’s opportunity, he said he knew it was the perfect fit.
“He’s got a big personality,” Langel said. “He’s a big ball of energy, and he’s got a positive outlook on life.”
So now, it’s hoops season. Colgate is 2-1, and in search of taking down Syracuse for the second straight year. Woodward hopes to bring the skills that he learned in downstate New York onto the hardwood, in an effort to continue ‘Gate’s success under Coach Langel.
“It comes down to having that patience on your team,” Woodward said. “When, you know, an underclassmen does not know what is going on; not having frustration with them. But taking the time to make sure they understand this is what we do, this is why we do it, and this is how we do it.”
Syracuse and Colgate tango tonight from the JMA Wireless Dome at 7 p.m.