Senior basketball players layout team experiences, future plans

Spinnaker

Next basketball season, three men and two women will be missing from the UNF basketball teams. Men’s basketball guards Eni Cuka, Stan Januska and Germaine Sparks will graduate this year, alongside women’s basketball forward Alrande Cherizol and center Shennette Sheffield .

 As the basketball season comes to a close, the Spinnaker wanted to take a look back at the seniors’ histories on the basketball teams and what they want to do next beyond their years at UNF.

Men’s Basketball Seniors 

Sparks and Januska will graduate with finance degrees after this season, but Sparks said he would like to work for a large corporation or get into coaching basketball. Januska hopes to find a successful position that would allow him to use what he learned through his degree program at UNF.

Sparks played for the UNF men’s basketball team for four years. He grew up playing basketball, with his brother and father being basketball players.

 “They got me started early, and I just loved it ever since,” Sparks said.
Cuka also gained interest in basketball from his parents, who played professional basketball in Turkey. Cuka played for the team for two years and will graduate with a sociology degree. He enjoys working with people and helping others, and he hopes to use his degree to do follow those passions.
Both Cuka and Sparks would like to play overseas.

Unlike Sparks and Cuka, Januska isn’t planning on pursuing basketball after graduation, but he said he’ll miss spending time with his teammates, game days, being on the road, messing around and the whole experience.

All of the senior men’s players said they will miss their teammates and the camaraderie of being on the basketball team. Sparks added that the conditioning, practices and trips have formed brotherly bonds between the players.

The players have enjoyed working under men’s head basketball coach Matthew Driscoll because they said he motivates them to push themselves to the best of their abilities. Cuka said Coach Driscoll is a “very fiery guy” who always inspires them to go all out on the basketball court.

 “He always knows how to motivate us,” Januska said. “You can’t help yourself to be excited to play.”

Sparks said Driscoll is a very demanding coach, and expects a lot of the team.

Driscoll said the seniors really helped in the transitional period of UNF becoming a Division I athletic program. He commended the senior players for their hard work and dedication to the team. Driscoll ensured the players have learned work ethics and “how failure can lead to success when you treat it the right way.”

Women’s Basketball Seniors
Cherizol will graduate from UNF with a business accounting degree, with hopes of opening and running her own salon and becoming a CPA. She originally attended Broward Community College before starting her journey with the UNF women’s basketball team two years ago, but basketball has been a part of Cherizol’s life much longer than these two years. She started playing basketball in the sixth grade.
As a member of the UNF women’s basketball team, Cherizol has always brought an extraordinary amount of athleticism to the court, said women’s head basketball coach Mary Tappmeyer. She said that Cherizol is a “monster” defensive player with the Ospreys.

After playing with the women’s basketball team for four years, Sheffield will graduate with degrees in political science and criminal justice. Sheffield aspires to set up a faith-based youth home and orphanage to help decrease crime rates among juveniles. She’s been playing basketball since she was in the fourth grade.

 “I started playing because I was tall, and everyone told me I was tall and I should play basketball,” Sheffield said.
In addition to being competitive on the court, Sheffield is also battling through her health. She was diagnosed with lupus two years ago, but Sheffield said her faith keeps her strong.
The other players on the team call Sheffield “Grandma since she has been the longest member of the women’s basketball team, and she acts as a support system for the newer members of the team. Tappmeyer also said Sheffield has been a great liaison for the basketball program.

Both players are going to miss working with their teammates.

 Cherizol and Sheffield have enjoyed being under the wing of TappmeyerCherizol said Tappmeyer is a supportive coach who helps players on and off the court.
“She’s the ideal sense of a boss,” Sheffield said. “She teaches what you gonna need to understand for the work force.”

Her basketball career at UNF may be coming to a close, but Cherizol would like the chance to play basketball overseas if the opportunity arises

Sheffield said she will not pursue basketball after college, but she possesses an interest in coaching.