Captain’s Corner

Michael Diakunczak, Reporter

Tony Harding, basketball’s starting forward and sophomore, has made an extraordinary impact during the last two seasons. Going into the 2016-2017 season as a freshman, Harding wanted to make an significant addition to the program by putting up an impressive stat line. Harding appeared in all 28 regular season games by being named the starting forward in the Cougar’s lineup. As if starting 28 consecutive games was not impressive enough, Harding accepted the challenge to top that. Harding averaged 14.6 points per game, ranked sixth in the Middle Atlantic Conference, made 7.0 rebounds a game, which was also ranked sixth in the conference, shot 50% from the floor, which was ranked second in the conference, and shot 39% from the three point line.

Harding’s biggest highlights from this season came during a game against Eastern University on Jan. 11, 2017 when he scored 36 points and knocked down six three pointers. To conclude the impressive first-year season, he was named MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year and made the All-MAC Freedom second team.

In recent months, Harding looked for the same success. Harding started 26 games this year and added another year of a impressive statistics by averaging 12.2 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, shooting .438% on the year from the floor, and shooting .377% on the year from behind the three point line. Harding’s accomplishments in the past two seasons help him realize why he chose to come to Misericordia to play basketball.

My journey so far with Misericordia [basketball] has been great so far, as we are looking to build off our success in the recent past. Coming into every season, winning the championship is our goal, as we will look to build on it next year and continue further into the NCAA tournament. Our goals each season are to get better both as a team and individually,” said Harding.

Winning a MAC Championship has been a goal the team is expected to meet every year. For the past two years, the Cougars have combined for a record of 37-19 and are now back-to-back MAC Freedom Champions after defeating DeSales University both years in the championship. Harding is proud, but he realizes that there is more work to be done.

“Being back-to-back MAC champions is an incredible feeling. However, we know the rest of our conference is gunning for us next season. Yes, we accomplished what we wanted to this season in winning the MAC freedom championship. However, we are not satisfied with just ending our season here. We feel we can move forward into the NCAA tournament and make some noise in the future.”

He said  the Cougars could have won some of their big games early in the season, getting them a better seed in the postseason.

Harding is ready to take on the next two years of his career. Despite the success, he knows the journey is just beginning for what is to come for the Cougars. Harding said there is more that he can give before he eventually departs.

“Misericordia basketball has meant a lot to me over the past two seasons, as day in and day out I go in to practice with the same guys, who at this point have become some of my closest friends. Misericordia basketball has opened up many opportunities for me, as I have met many new people and made new relationships.”

He expects that the Cougars will get wins in the NCAA tournament and defend the MAC Freedom title.