DeAndre' Bembry was not exactly surprised on Friday night when he learned he had been named captain of the St. Joseph's men's basketball team. Bembry, a junior forward, captained the Hawks last season and was the first player in school history to win the Atlantic 10's scoring title.
His teammates cast their votes on Thursday in the team's locker room. The results were announced during a team dinner on Friday at the home of head coach Phil Martelli.
"I always felt like I was a leader, ever since I was younger," Bembry said on Saturday morning before St. Joe's held its first official practice. "I was always one of the dudes that actually knew what they were talking about on the court, so I was always leading."
Bembry will lead a team that returns nine players from last season's 13-18 campaign. Freshman guards Chris Clover (St. Joseph's Prep) and Lamarr Kimble (Neumann-Goretti) will likely contribute. Bembry said the captain needs to make sure the team sticks together. The captain can lead by talking or by scoring, he said.
Last season, Bembry was the first sophomore to captain the Hawks since 1936-37. Martelli said Bembry came to the Hawks with "an old spirit." The person he is now was the way Bembry was as a freshman.
"What he has done is really what college basketball should be about," Martelli said. "He's a little bit better of a person. He's a little bit better of a player. He can and should be a little bit better of a student. He has, to this point, maximized the college experience."
Martelli said the choice of captain belongs to the players. They own it, the coach said.
"He has to own it now. He has their respect," Martelli said. "I've been saying all along, he's just a really, really good teammate. He's a really good teammate. He enjoys being around them. They enjoy being around him. I think it's quite a tribute to the way he was raised."