Pick of the pride

“I only know one way to play basketball, and it happens to be hard,” said Boylan. “I’m not good enough to be on the court if I’m not playing as hard as I can all the time.”

Boylan, a junior guard, has been a key contributor to the team’s 5-4 start.,On the basketball court, Joe Boylan is summed up in one word: intense.

“I only know one way to play basketball, and it happens to be hard,” said Boylan. “I’m not good enough to be on the court if I’m not playing as hard as I can all the time.”

Boylan, a junior guard, has been a key contributor to the team’s 5-4 start.

Boylan’s biggest asset to the team is the hustle and tenacity he brings to the Emerson lineup every game.

“Joe likes to stir the pot, keep people on their toes,” said Head Coach Hank Smith. “He’s very challenging. He challenges everybody mentally. He really knows how to get under the skin of the opponent.”

Unfortunately for Boylan, playing at such an intense level does have its disadvantages, and he finds himself in the trainer’s room fairly often.

“My body is in a pretty constant state of disrepair,” he said. “Luckily, we have a phenomenal athletic trainer that keeps me on the court.”

The Royal Oak, MI native said going to the gym with his father as a child is what got him interested in basketball to begin with.

“I probably started organized basketball as soon as I could-third grade,” he said. “But I’ve probably been playing basketball since I could go with my dad to the gym probably. That’s definitely why I love basketball.”

Boylan played on the Emerson team his freshman year but transferred to Colorado College as a sophomore, where he was the starting point guard.

However, the move didn’t quite feel right for him, he said, and he returned to Emerson for the spring 2006 semester.

“After I left, I realized how much I enjoyed Emerson, how much I enjoyed playing for Coach Smith,” Boylan said. “It’s just such a fun way to play, the way he coaches. He’s always making me laugh every day.”

According to Smith, Boylan is an excellent player-coach and is always bringing a great attitude to the team every single day.

“It’s a lot of fun to coach Joe,” Smith said. “He works hard every day. He has an attitude he wants to get better each and every day. He also pushes the coaches’ buttons. Basically, the coaching staff is there for his personal entertainment.”

Boylan said one of the best things about the season so far is the new Piano Row gymnasium where Emerson plays its home games.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “Coming from Pine Manor, my freshman year we practiced at a park in Fenway before the season started. I think it’s by far the nicest gym in the conference. I love it.”

Off the court, Boylan is a writing, literature and publishing major, but he wants to be a basketball coach in the future.

He is also a member of the Student Athletic Committee and enjoys watching TV, writing, sleeping and hanging out with friends in his spare time.

For now, though, Boylan’s focus is solely on his schoolwork and his basketball team.

He says the team’s performance so far has shown glimpses of a very bright future.

“I think we’re going to be real good,” he said. “We’re good right now, and we have the potential to be really good. We just need to get to know each other as a team. There’s no reason we shouldn’t win the league and go to the NCAA tournament.”