Basketball star shoots for NCAA tourney

Evan+Kupferberg+shoots+during+a+game+against+Emory.+

Rachel Kaplan

Evan Kupferberg shoots during a game against Emory.

Bobby Wagner, Sports Editor

The UAA is loaded with talent this year, but NYU junior basketball star Evan Kupferberg has claimed his stake as one of its undisputed top players. Kupferberg, the conference’s leading rebounder at 10.8 per game and second leading scorer with 17.7 points per game, garnered his third UAA player of the week award over the weekend.

Kupferberg transferred from Liberal Studies to the Gallatin School of Individualized Study to study real estate. When he is not on the court, he passes time playing video games.

After such a successful sophomore season, Kupferberg earned the confidence of his coaches.

“It’s a whole year process,” he said. “I’ve been working in the offseason to get better. During the season the coaches really put you in the right spots to succeed. I’m really happy they have trust in me. I’m just continuing to get better.”

The Violets are 13-5 this season, and are coming off one of the biggest wins of the year against Emory last Sunday. Despite their solid overall record, they are just 4-3 in the conference, but Kupferberg isn’t worried about bringing home a UAA title.

The team’s three conference losses should not be a problem, as long as they continue to play at their current clip. Because the UAA is so competitive, it has left them some opportunity to recover from some early season letdowns.

“This season is crazy,” Kupferberg said. “The winning team for the UAA title is probably going to have five or six conference losses. It’s so competitive, teams are beating teams left and right. Against Rochester we came out flat, and that’s what happens in the UAA. Anybody can lose.”

But Kupferberg is confident that this season will be a season to remember. The team is closely knit and prepared for a deep postseason run together.

“I would say the camaraderie on our team is probably as tight as any team in the UAA, if not the entire country,” Kupferberg said. “I’m friendly with all the guys, and the freshman have come in and accepted their roles.”

Max Ralby, Kupferberg’s fellow junior captain at NYU, has been around Kupferberg for years before NYU. Ralby played at Kupferberg’s rival high school in Florida.

“Evan is a great player, friend, and teammate,” Ralby said.  “In high school we always battled against each other. It’s nice having him on my side these past three years. He is a big part of our success not only with his performance on the court, but the person he is off the court. I’ve known Evan since lower school, and I feel very blessed to be his teammate. I know we will be life-long friends.”

For Kupferberg and the rest of the Violets, it’s all about the team getting to the NCAA tournament this year. That doesn’t take away from their regular season accomplishments though, one of which came recently in the form of a long overdue victory.

“I just told the guys in the locker room on Sunday that that was my first time beating Emory,” Kupferberg said. “It felt good to finally get a win against them.”

Kupferberg will look to lead the Violets to another win when he suits up this Friday as the Violets take on the University of Rochester.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 5 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]