Perseverance Pays Off for Rudy Jean

Brett Johnson, Sports Editor

In October of 2017, Rudy Jean sat in men’s basketball Head Coach Michael Tully’s office and awaited his fate. He had gone through tryouts and wanted a spot on that roster. But he didn’t get it.

Although he played well during tryouts, the numbers weren’t right. He was one of many freshmen trying out for the squad and there wasn’t enough room for him. Jean left Coach Tully’s office after their conversation disappointed, but not discouraged.

He spent a lot of time in the gym working on his game after that. He focused on his jump shot and ball handling to become a more effective guard. He watched the Hawks be successful on the court and make it to the Commonwealth Coast Conference semifinal, which was bitter sweet for him.

Jean, a sophomore business marketing major, was determined to make the 2018-19 team. 

“I wanted to prove to the coaches I could play,” he said. “I didn’t like that feeling [of getting cut].”

This year, after tryouts, Jean sat in Coach Tully’s office again, but this time, the news was good. Coach Tully admired his work ethic, Jean said, and his defense was a selling point. Jean was named a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Honorable Mention Defensive Player in 2017 as a senior at Catholic Memorial. 

Jean played on various travel leagues throughout the summers while in high school, which fostered his basketball knowledge. He caught the injury bug almost every winter and only played a full season his senior year.

Since he joined the team as a sophomore, he has admitted that it’s been hard to gel with his teammates, but they’re in-sync when it’s important — on the court.

The tri-captains, Austin Coene, Jake Heaton and Ben Stone have noticed the work that Jean put in during the offseason and preseason.

“He tried out last year and didn’t make the team, but he worked on his game and got a lot better,” Heaton said. “He’s a great kid and [the rookies] all fit in well with us.”

Although the Hawks dropped their opener by a hefty margin last week, Jean has no doubt that the team will be competitive. They had good performances in their preseason scrimmages, including against Springfield College, who were a Final Four team last year.

“Team-wise, we can go as far as we want to go,” Jean said.

They defeated Worcester State University Sunday at home 88-68 and will host their tournament this coming weekend.

Jena hasn’t see any action on the court yet during the regular season, but was happy with his debut against Springfield. Jean believes he is a well-rounded player with good defensive, passing and communication skills, but can score a lot when he needs to. 

But his skills don’t come before the team.

“[I’ll do] anything to help the team,” he said.