Over the course of the outstanding 2011 to 2012 University of Missouri – St. Louis men’s basketball campaign, the name Troy Long has become very well-known among Tritons fans and opponents alike. To fans, this is, naturally, a blessing and a reason for celebration. However, Long’s opponents find more reason for chagrin than joy when hearing his name on the roster. Through the first 20 games of the season his 16.3 points and 2.8 assists per game were the best on the team. Troy is also top five on the Tritons team in rebounds per game (2.4), three-point percentage (.422) and free throw percentage (.828). Troy has proven himself a reliable shooter and defender, and has developed into a well rounded playmaker who can carry his team when necessary.

“This year I have let the game come to me more instead of forcing shots and trying to get things done by myself,” Troy said regarding the career year he is having on the court. Like many collegiate athletes, he looks to the professionals in search of inspiration and has managed to find a model he cites as absolutely worthy of such admiration. He models his game after Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics, his favorite pro athlete. “I describe my game on the court as smooth. I never get rattled, am always humble and ready for any given situation. My strengths are my shooting, defense, leadership and ability to make my teammates better.”

Troy has developed his game over the course of his college career, which has seen him wearing three different uniforms after prepping at Withrow High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his time at Withrow, he was named an All-Region 24 and All-Conference player in his senior year. Troy then went on to play his first two seasons of college basketball at Southeastern Illinois State Community College. In his second year at SIC, Troy averaged 11.8 points and 2.3 assists per game and led his team to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national tournament. As an individual, Troy received All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference and All-Region XXIV honors that year.

Long’s obvious talent on the court drew the attention of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale coach Chris Lowery, and Troy went to play the 2010-11 season for the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Salukis. In that campaign, Troy saw action in 19 games, averaging 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in just less than 14 minutes per game. Although his numbers across the board were down from his junior college days, the staff at UMSL saw something in Long that told them he would be a good fit in Tritons colors.

“We knew we were getting a good player on the court, but he has really impressed us with his leadership abilities,” said Tritons head coach Steve Tappmeyer in regards to the recruitment of Long. Troy recognizes that his teammates and their ability to work together are a great boost to his game. “I felt being patient and being a team player helped me get my numbers,” Troy said.

Unfortunately for Tritons fans, Troy will be done with college ball after this year. “After college, I want to be an athletic director at the high school level maybe work my way up to the NCAA and I also want to continue my basketball career and hopefully play overseas,” said Troy in regards to his future plans.

As far as this season goes, Troy has one bold prediction that UMSL basketball fans are going to love. “My predictions for the rest of the season are that we will bring a banner into the Mark Twain building for being conference champs and make it to the national tournament,” Troy said. Troy’s leadership and ability has the Tritons on the right path.

Eli Dains, staff writer for The Current