Engineering a consistent run

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By Matthew Noonan

If there were one word to describe the MIT men’s basketball program it would be consistency.

Consistency, as any coach or player would tell you, is not easy to maintain, but somehow Larry Anderson’s program has found a way to remain consistent for quite some time, especially in a competitive New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.

The consistency of MIT’s basketball program begins with bringing “good players” to campus, according to Anderson. But these players aren’t just “good players” – in fact, they’re student-athletes who are passionate, hard-working and accountable. They’re also tough, too, but love being a part of a family culture.

“I think the thing for us – and we always say it (throughout the process) – is talent acquisition followed by the character of guys that you get on a team, but also what they value, too,” said Anderson when asked about his program’s consistent success and play from over the past few seasons.  

“If they can embrace our core values, not just because coach said to or told me to do it during a practice or a game, then the guys allow us to coach them, which is just a small part of the equation, but at the end of the day we are just fortunate to have some really good players (compete for our program) that understand the value of doing things correctly.” 

And by doing things correctly, as well as following to the program’s five core values of passion, hard work, accountability, toughness and family, MIT has found a way to win five NEWMAC tournament crowns, dating back to their initial title in February 2009, while earning seven invites to the NCAA Tournament.

As of Tuesday, MIT certainly appears to be “doing things correctly” – they’re currently 12-1 overall and 2-0 in NEWMAC play, thanks to a pair of wins last week against Coast Guard Academy and WPI. Additionally, the Engineers have been moving-up in the weekly polls – this week, MIT slid into the 11th position after checking in at 15th a week ago.   

Yet, take away stats, wins and conference titles, and Anderson will tell you another reason beyond the core values that have helped his program maintain consistency every year and do things correctly, too: the MIT’s athletics office. It is within those walls where Anderson feels fortunate to collaborate and learn from some great minds, ranging from Halston Taylor of cross country and track and field to Sonia Raman of women’s basketball, which have helped him and his coaching staff set-up a successful and yes, consistent program.  

Said Anderson, “Having the opportunity to get information from coaches (within the department) like Sonia Raman, who I think is one of the brightest coaches and best young minds in basketball period that I don’t think people know about – they don’t understand how thorough she is. Also, Halston Taylor, who has won so many championships, but it is not just winning … instead, it is the process by which they go through in order to get to where they’re trying to go.”

That process is something Anderson and his program is constantly going through as well - it is certainly another reason why the MIT men’s basketball program has been consistent through the years and will certainly be a team to keep an eye on for the remainder of this season and beyond.

Said Raman, “The guys play really hard (for Anderson). They know their roles and embrace them, so they play to their strengths to do what they can to make the team successful and I think that is really a commonality with his teams … and I think his team to steal a little something from the New England Patriots has a ‘do your job’ mentality.”  

Whether it is “do your job” or “doing things the right way,” at the end of the day, the MIT men’s basketball program is all about following its five core values of hard work, accountability, toughness and family to maintain its consistency.

EXTRA, EXTRA from around New England: In case you missed it, the Bowdoin women’s basketball team scored an exciting 66-53 win over Tufts this past weekend, thanks to a game-high 20 points from Lauren Petit, along with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists from Kate Kerrigan.

The Polar Bears, who improved to 13-0 and 2-0 in New England Small College Athletic Conference, connected on 33.3 percent of their shots from the field, while Tufts (11-2, 1-1) netted 30.8 percent of their field goals.

Congratulations to Husson’s Kenzie Worcester, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark this past weekend in her team’s 69-61 win over Maine Maritime. Worcester concluded the game with a season-high 36 points – 20 of those points came from the charity stripe as she was an impressive 20-of-23 from the line.

Western New England men’s basketball scored an exciting win last Saturday as they defeated Nichols, 100-94, in overtime. Mikey Pettway led the Golden Bears in the win by netting a career-high 38 points to go along with seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. The win was the Golden Bears’ fourth-straight win since defeating Eastern Nazarene last month by a score of 89-79.

The Mass-Boston women’s basketball team snapped a 10-game losing streak to Eastern Connecticut State last Saturday, thanks to Joie Grassi and Raven Kelsey, who combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds in the win. The Beacons have now won 10 consecutive contests, dating to a 90-24 win last November over Rivier.

On Monday, the Beacons extended its current winning streak to 11 games with a win over Bridgewater State.

Finally, did you know that Anna Maria’s Mike Rapoza has recorded nine double-doubles this season? Honored by the Worcester Area College Basketball Association on Tuesday as a co-men’s player of the week, Rapoza recorded his ninth double-double last Saturday with 17 points and 14 rebounds against Johnson & Wales.

Matt Noonan

Matt Noonan is the head editor and founder of, a New England Division III college sports blog that covers basketball, football and lacrosse. Noonan's work has been featured on,, and, and has appeared in the Boston Globe, along with other digital and print outlets. No stranger to Division III, Noonan spent time as an Athletics Communications Assistant and Sports Information Assistant at MIT, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Wheaton College, and was recently an Associate Producer at Lax Sports Network where he oversaw a trio of weekly shows, while assisting producers, on-air talent, production assistants and directors with daily programming. Noonan graduated from Wheaton College in May 2010 -- Go Lyons! -- and currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts.