Athlete of the Week: Sabis’ Nelson Zayus
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Every athlete enters a season with goals as to how they’re going to make an impact for their team. Nelson Zayus has had the mentality to continually improve as an athlete since the day he took to the hardwood at Sabis. After earning a Western Mass crown, he views it as a success.
“I always told myself throughout my eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh grade years that my senior year would be my best year that I’ve ever had,” Zayus said, “Playing basketball throughout the offseason and non stop working in the gym, jogging. I just planned on having a big year.”
It often takes a mental toughness to take a major step. After logging over 20 points per game this season, the senior credits the growth to his focus.
“I was on another level of focus and determination,” Zayus said, “I definitely wanted to prove to a lot of people that Sabis basketball is back. When we made the playoffs, that made me even more hungry. I just wanted one more last run at it.”
“He’s come into that role of really being a team leader and a captain and he embellished the role and he did a good job with being able to step up to that and accept that role,” head coach John Williams said.
Williams, in his second season with the program, takes pride in watching his offensive spark plug mature. It is exactly what he and his coaching staff aimed to do with not only Zayus but the entire Bulldogs roster.
“It’s bigger than just playing Sabis basketball. We wanna see them grow as young men and be a vital part of the community so we use basketball as kind of that tool to do that,” Williams said, “I couldn’t be anymore proud of the young men.”
While the season ultimately ended with a loss in the state semifinals, Zayus is grateful for his accomplishments during his five seasons.
“I felt like I had a really good five years here playing Sabis basketball with three Western Mass championships and one state championship. A lot of players in Western Mass don’t get that opportunity and I think it’s truly a blessing,” Zayus said.
That rare blessing and growth is one that will in all likelihood create the foundation for future Bulldogs to follow.