DeSantis Earns Scholarship | Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

DeSantis Earns Scholarship

Greg DeSantis isn’t the same player he was a few years ago…and he would be the first one to admit that.  In the spring of 2006, DeSantis was someone struggling to find his identity on the basketball court.  Although he already possessed a well developed skill set, he seemed to always be looking over his shoulder, leery that a mistake could bring a quick substitution from the bench. 

But that summer things began to change.  He rededicated himself to taking his game to the next level and also made the decision to Notre Dame of Fairfield, where he would be coached by former division I assistant Vinnie Lawzkowski. 

After being forced to sit out the next season due to CIAC transfer rules, DeSantis returned to the court for the 2007-08 season a completely new player.  He quickly emerged as one of the state’s best, while averaging over 20 points per game and leading Notre Dame to a 16-4 regular season record, good enough for a share of the regular season conference title. 

This season, DeSantis has taken his game to yet another level.  He’s averaging over 24 points (despite the fact that he’s taking a few less shots per game) and 7 assists.  He’s also just a few shy of 1000 career points in less than two years as a Lancer.  More importantly, he’s proven his ability to be a team’s undisputed leader, as Notre Dame’s 8 man rotation features one sophomore and four freshmen, all of whom look to their senior captain for guidance. 

“We start three seniors and two freshmen,” said Laczkowski, “and for Greg to be doing what he’s doing, I couldn’t be prouder of him.” 

So what’s the difference between DeSantis now and three years ago? 

“My attitude changed.  It’s funny…once you put in the amount of hours in the weight room and in the gym, it gives you confidence,” he said.  “The mental edge you get from knowing you’ve outworked your opponent is huge, and every time I step on the court, that’s how I feel.” 

While DeSantis’ best basketball has just emerged in recent years, he is a young man who has spent his entire life around the game.  His father, Joe DeSantis, was the longtime head coach at Quinnipiac University after having previously made stops working as an assistant in the Big East as well as a scout in the NBA. 

That pedigree proved to be an important factor when the Notre Dame star recently took an official visit to Southern New Hampshire University.  While many recruits often spend their visits checking out the co-eds and the party scene, DeSantis was curious about other things. 

“I was real impressed with the way they prepared for their game,” DeSantis said.  “Since my dad is a coach I’ve been around division I programs for a while, and they do things the right way.” 

But that was only one of many factors, as DeSantis was also swayed by the amount of support the program received from the University community, and the fact that he would have an opportunity to make an immediate impact. 

“Coach Spirou is like the mayor up there.  You could tell that basketball was a priority for the school,” he said.  “Plus they need a point guard and I could tell they really wanted me…and I wanted to go somewhere where I was really wanted.” 

It wasn’t even a week after returning from his official visit that DeSantis called Spirou and told him he was accepting the scholarship offer and coming to Southern New Hampshire. 

“If anybody deserves it, he deserves it,” said Laczkowski.  “He’s worked tremendously hard.” 

DeSantis, finally reaping the rewards from all of his hard work, was quick to express his gratitude to many of the people who made it possible. 

“My dad has always supported me and Vinnie has been like my second father ever since I transferred to Notre Dame,” he said.  “I’ve talked to him every single day since, he was there every day in the summer and I owe him a lot.  He and his staff, along with my father, have made a big difference in the player I’ve been able to become.”