Four years ago, Kyle Leufroy came off the bench to play as a guard in his first college basketball game against Syracuse.
“Thoughts were going through my head,” Leufroy said, who is now a senior guard. “Obviously I wanted to play well, I just had to calm my nerves down. As soon as I went in the game, I was really nervous. You’re on that big stage as well as a freshman, you’re playing to not make a mistake.”
The moment Leufroy made his first assist of the game — his first major play — his nerves broke. He was ready to play.
Fast-forward four years, and Leufroy has just finished his college career with a loss against Bucknell in the Patriot League semifinals on March 10.
Leufroy said he walked into his last game with extreme confidence and a goal in mind. He was experiencing back pain before the game, which led him to go in with mixed emotions, but most importantly, he strived to persevere through the pain.
Leufroy was able to end his career on a high, scoring 427 points throughout the season, averaging 13.8 points per game, 3.4 assists per game, 5.2 rebounds per game and a .467 field-goal percentage, all of which were the highest season totals or best averages of Leufroy’s career.
“This year he took a major step forward for us,” said associate head coach Antoni Wyche. “He’s a solid scorer, producer, rebounder and defender. He played the role you would want from a senior this year, and he’s very consistent for us in a lot of aspects of the game.”
Wyche, who had recruited Leufroy, said he has a close relationship with him and has enjoyed watching him improve and play over his last four years.
“Really this season was probably my best moment for him,” Wyche said. “To see him bounce back from the struggles he had last year. He worked the adversity, and he came back to have a great season and make all-league.”
Head coach Brett Reed said Leufroy has improved not only as a statistic, but also as a man and a teammate.
“His maturity level has really grown,” Reed said. “He’s really passionate about the game.”
Reed said Leufroy has emerged as a leader and is always trying to get his other teammates to go to the gym and improve their game and themselves.
Leufroy is a strong leader because he connects with the freshmen and helps them become better players, Wyche said. He also works with the older players and makes sure they’re playing at their best.
Both coaches also described Leufroy as one of the hardest workers on the team, and they said that he is someone who truly leads by example in the amount of work he dedicates to practice.
Leufroy is always encouraging players to be more vocal in practice and he’s always making sure they are working hard at the gym and doing their best to compete, said junior guard Jordan Cohen.
“I’m always trying to find new ways to encourage and motivate the team and get us rolling,” Leufroy said.
Reed said Leufroy has a great relationship with all of his teammates, and that he has a great understanding of the team. He said that Leufroy truly understands that he needs the team and that they need him.
“Kyle’s probably got one of, if not, the best personalities on the team,” Wyche said. “He’s probably the most outgoing, he’s easy to relate to, and communicate with. I think he’s got a great relationship with everyone on our team.”
Kyle is a very warm and open person, Reed said. He is always kind to teammates, family and fans and his personality has provided him with great memories on and off the court.
“Since my freshman year, for the most part, I’ve had a good relationship with everybody on my team,” Leufroy said. “I try to go out of my way to spend time with the guys outside of basketball, on the court, off the court, whatever that may be.”
Now that Leufroy has finished his college career, he is going through the agent process and he is looking to play professionally, in the U.S. or overseas.
“I’ve been proud of his growth over his four years here,” Wyche said. “The good times, the bad times, he’s always kind of persevered through it. I look at it from a different perspective, I’m just proud of all he’s accomplished here.”