Senior center earns accolades for dominant performances

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Photo: Beacon Archive

Senior center Jarred Houston making a layup

By Clarissa Calderon

Jarred Houston was named to his second Defensive Player of the Week for Men’s Basketball by the New England Women’s and Men’s Conference on Monday after the senior center put up 16.5 boards, one steal, and four blocks per game. He also recorded 20 rebounds against Bridgewater State.

Houston has torched the competition to open the 2021-22 campaign––accumulating an average of 18.6 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3.4 blocks a game in eight appearances on the year.

Houston won the award twice in three weeks — for the weeks ending on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5. The only week he didn’t win the award, Emerson played just three games.

Houston said he approached this season with more determination after the pandemic prevented him from playing his junior year.

“I felt more motivated to work harder in the summer because I didn’t want to waste any more time because I had already lost a year,” Houston said. “I understood coming in that our team had a chance to be great.”

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In his first showing, Houston put together two double-doubles against Brandeis University and Emmanuel College. The senior recorded 20 boards, four blocks, and a team-best 24 points against Emmanuel.

Houston would carry the momentum into the following games which resulted in his second appearance in NEWMAC honors. The Lions took on Plymouth State University and Bridgewater State University and Houston put together another two double-double games––including once again pulling down 20 rebounds at Bridgewater. Through the first four weeks of the season, Houston has seven double-doubles and leads the NEWMAC in field goal percentage, rebounds, rebounds per game, and blocks.

As the team’s starting center, Houston attributed his ongoing work to improve his shot-blocking and rebounding skills for his success. However, he also credited his teammates for their hard work.

“My skills as a shot-blocker and rebounder on the defensive glass have helped me the most throughout this season,” Houston said. “As much as this accomplishment is something that seems to be individual, everyone has done a great job playing defense this season.”

Junior shooting guard Bryan Lupiáñez said Houston takes some pressure off the team when he’s on the floor.

“He makes the game easier for all of us,” Lupiáñez said. “Whenever we need somebody to make a big play on the defensive end, we can rely on him [Houston] to take care of that.”

Lupiáñez said while the team is proud of Houston for his individual successes, the squad has their sights on more than just defensive player of the week awards.

“We’re all chasing one thing and that’s winning the NEWMAC Championship and going to the NCAA Tournament,” Lupiáñez said. “We’re very proud of him [Houston] and he’s humbled of this award, but he’s chasing something bigger than this.”

Senior guard Zach Waterhouse said playing with Houston has helped his own performance on the court.

“[Houston] helps our team play better,” Waterhouse said. “Me, as a basketball player—I know I wouldn’t have half of the points or good plays I’ve had if it wasn’t for [Houston] because we work so well together.”

The men’s basketball team’s most common starting lineup is made up of four seniors. Waterhouse said he will miss the camaraderie on the team and playing with Houston as his final season as a Lion approaches.

“There’s something really special about being in college, on an athletic team because we all have a similar goal,” Weatherhouse said. “That brings something that you can’t really replicate in any other place in your life.”

Houston stands tall at 6’10”, which senior point guard Trevor McLean said contributed to his success.

“Jarred has a lot of natural talent and size that our team nor anyone in the league has,” McLean said. “He worked to get in incredible shape over the summer and in the offseason. He set the tone and it made us [the team] work harder and want to be better.”

As a teammate and close friend, McLean said he is thrilled to be able to witness Houston’s success.

“I’m incredibly happy for him,” McLean said. “I was Jarred’s [first] year roommate so seeing him grow over the last four years has been really special for me. He’s one of my best friends and he definitely deserves it.”

McLean said it will be difficult for the seniors to go their separate ways at the conclusion of the season.

“I’m going to miss [Houston] a bunch,” McLean said. “He has become like a brother to me and we’ve been through so much together so it’s going to be tough letting go of this experience.”

Houston said he is excited about his accomplishment and looking forward to the rest of the season.

“It feels great,” Houston said. “Right now, we’re playing some good basketball and hopefully we can continue to improve on both sides of the ball.”

“I want to win a NEWMAC Championship and continue to play basketball in March,” he continued.