In order to be a star at the university level, athletes today must be “the whole package.” Being highly skilled simply isn’t enough — one must also inspire their team along with providing leadership and encouragement.
Will McFee serves as a prime example of the well-rounded athlete, providing leadership both on and off the basketball court. Currently in his fifth and final season with the Varsity Reds, the Northbridge, Australia native is anticipating a long playoff season for the team.
“The season has been very good so far, and I thought we really made some good strides during the pre-season which got us some national recognition,” said McFee.
“To sum up how the regular season has gone to date, I think we’ve continued to improve as best we can. As a team we learned last year that the season is very much a marathon and not a sprint, so we’ve made a much more concerted effort in trying to stay healthy as a unit over the course of the season.”
While McFee believes that the team has improved immensely over the course of the season, there were also a number of challenges that arose.
“I think our team lost focus at the end of 2014 when we lost on the road to Cape Breton and StFX. We’ve also had a few injuries here and there, which can make it hard to keep moving forward.”
Despite these setbacks, McFee commends his team for their strength and will to overcome these inevitable hurdles.
“It all goes back to how we’ve learned and progressed from our experiences last year, when we were riddled with injuries all year and practically crawled past the regular season finish line only to lose a heartbreaker to StFX in the playoffs. That experience really made us learn the hard way that it’s a marathon and that we can never get too high or too low over the course of a season.”
McFee believes that the perception of UNB basketball has changed dramatically over the past two to three years, noting that other teams in the league now view the Varsity Reds as a legitimate threat each night.
In regards to his own game, McFee explained that he was forced to make adjustments due in large part to the physical style of play in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
“When I got to UNB, I looked to get to the rim a lot more — it was always my first option. Over the years, I started to look for other ways to score by developing a mid-range game and being able to step behind the three-point line.”
McFee also focused extensively on his shooting during the off-season and the hard work has certainly paid off. Boasting an astounding 39.4% three-point shooting accuracy, McFee has been a force to be reckoned with on the court.
The star’s final season was made even more special by a visit from his sister in November, flying in from Australia just to see him play.
“Rose is the first person from the family who has been able to come over and watch me play in the flesh, so I was pretty stoked to have her here.”
His mother is also planning a trip across the globe just in time for the AUS playoffs and — perhaps more sentimental — the annual senior game, where the families of graduating players are invited to honour these dedicated athletes.
“I think the plan was for me to walk out with coach Baker’s beloved bulldog Toni [aka ‘T-Bird’] Baker, but it would be great if she could make it — no disrespect to T-Bird,” quipped McFee.
McFee hopes to continue his solid play in this weekend’s games, in which the V-Reds take on Cape Breton and UPEI in crucial four-point games.