At 6’8, Robbie Walsh is the tallest member of the men’s basketball team. As the starting center, his contributions have also been some of the largest. This season, the junior from Summit, N.J. is averaging 7.3 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game. In the Conference tournament, Walsh stepped up. He recorded a double double in the semifinal game against Ursinus and a key block late in the finals that led to Cam Wiley’s go ahead three pointer, which capped off Swarthmore’s 12-0 run.
MAX KASSAN: After coming so close last year, how does it feel to finally be a champion?
ROBBIE WALSH: It feels incredible to be conference champions, the championship game, like the whole season, was an amazing team effort and we are all lucky to be a part of such a great team.
MK: You guys were down by 11 with 10:40 to go; how were you all able to stay composed enough to will yourselves back into the game?
RW: One of the core tenants of our team is that we all have a “next play” mentality. Even if things haven’t been going our way we only worry about what comes next and focus on what comes next. We also talk about “tightening the fist” when we encounter adversity as a team, meaning that when the going gets tough we just have to pull together as a team and get it done. I think that both of those core team values were on full display last weekend.
MK: Was there a moment where you knew you were going to win?
RW: It was a nail-biter the whole time but when Sam [Lebryk ’17] hit those two free throws I knew that we were going to close it out for sure.
MK: What was it like playing the conference tournament on your home floor?
RW: Playing the conference tournament on our home floor was an incredible experience, on behalf of the whole men’s basketball program I would like to say thank you to all the fans who came out and supported us. The crowd was a major factor and definitely gave us energy and made the win that much better.
MK: What is your mindset heading into the NCAA tournament?
RW: Our mindset going into the NCAA tournament is that we take it one game at a time and focus on whoever we are playing next. We’ve done a good job of focusing on whatever game comes next all season and if we continue to do that then there is no reason why we can’t continue to have success.
MK: Finally, when you are introduced before each game, you and Andrew Kaufmann ’18 perform a bull/matador routine. How did you come up with this?
RW: Love that question, I’ve been doing the bull for my introduction since high school and saw no reason to stop doing it at Swat.