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UVM Hoopcats: Coach Becker on COVID tests and returning to the court

The UVM men's basketball team took a nearly two week pause in its summer on-campus workouts after a pair of positive COVID tests
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 8:34 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In late July, the UVM men’s basketball team was one of the first groups of students allow back on the University of Vermont campus, taking part in a limited version of the team practices that the NCAA traditionally allows college basketball teams to take part in during the summer.

Those practices were put on hold early in August when the University announced that two members of the program had tested positive for COVID. Both cases were asymptomatic. Through contact tracing, those who had close contact were notified and went into quarantine.

Coach John Becker says the team paused training for about two weeks. They resumed workouts last week and will wrap up their summer practices this week.

Becker says, through the continuation of the NCAA testing and monitoring protocols, there have been no new positive tests and that he is thankful that everyone is safe and, in his words, 'in a good spot right now.' With move students arriving on campus, Becker says he hopes how his team's situation was handled can be used as a learning experience.

"(It Was) A very cautious and safe and smart way to go about it we got through it.", says Becker. "I think everyone learned from the experience and hopefully this can help us move towards the bigger goal, the more important goal, which is opening up school in a safe way and keeping it open. I know that we're going to do our part, our small part, in hopefully being campus leaders in this realm and hopefully we can open up and stay open."

As far as those on the court workouts are concerned, Becker says they consist primarily with individuals shooting on individual baskets, or very small groups working on shooting or skill drills in pods based on who they are living with to limit overall contact. Despite the challenges, Becker says the team is relishing the opportunity to be on the court.

After having last season cut short in March just prior to the America East championship game, then having to go through months of group training sessions held via Zoom and being away from the game, Becker feels that this experience has brought a typically close team even closer together.

“There’s a real appreciation just to get into the gym and have an opportunity to do what we love to do.”, says Becker. “So I think there’s been some positive that’s come out of all of this. You miss everybody in the program. Just how special a group it is and how fortunate we all are to be part of this, be part of a team and represent the University of Vermont and so hopefully we never take that for granted again.”

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