Coming Back

By Tyler Stephenson-Moore

My decision to come back for a fifth year was all rooted in my belief that I had more to accomplish here at Stony Brook.

It’s not a decision I took lightly, but I felt deep down that I had more to prove.

After four years of playing collegiate basketball, I knew I had the potential to achieve greater things.

And with unfinished business from last season, I knew that staying for another year was the right move for me.

From Jamaica, Queens

Growing up in Jamaica, Queens, I was always involved in sports. 

I played everything from football to tennis, but it was basketball that truly captured my heart. 

I remember attending a camp in Massachusetts when I was a little where a coach encouraged me to try basketball. 

From that moment, I was hooked. 

I played pickup games at the park, honing my skills, and falling in love with the sport. 

It became my passion, and I knew I had found my calling.

Starting at Stony Brook

When it came time to choose a college, I decided to attend Stony Brook. 

Truthfully, Stony Brook wasn’t necessarily on my radar since day one.

I wanted to be a part of a program that had the potential to make waves in the basketball world. 

And I felt like Stony Brook perfectly embodied that opportunity.

Now, in my fifth year here with the Seawolves, I can doubtlessly say that it was the right choice. The coaches, the players, and the community embraced me with open arms. 

Sure, the journey’s been filled with ups and downs, but I’ve loved every bit of it. 

From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew I had found a second home. 

Sophomore slump

But as I briefly mentioned, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

During my sophomore year, I faced a slump that really tested my resilience.

I started to doubt myself and questioned my abilities on the court.

It was a tough time, not going to lie, but it was also a turning point.

During that time, I reached out to one of my coaches, Coach Holt, who became my rock during that period.

I told him how frustrated I was at the end of the season, and he just motivated me to put in the work to improve.

He believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.

With his guidance and support, I found the strength to push through and come out stronger on the other side.

I took extra shots at practice, worked harder at home, and changed the way I talked to myself.

The tough times put a chip on my shoulder and made me the player I am today.

Things have only gone up since that moment.

I had a lot of success in my junior and senior year, which certainly contributed to my desire to come back.

I have a lot more I want to accomplish as an individual and as a team.

During my sophomore year, I faced a slump that really tested my resilience. I started to doubt myself and questioned my abilities on the court. It was a tough time, not going to lie, but it was also a turning point. During that time, I reached out to one of my coaches, Coach Holt, who became my rock during that period.

Growth

Now, as I’m in my fifth year, I have taken on a new role as a leader on the team. I’m the only fifth-year on the team actually, so I feel like I have a lot of knowledge and experience I can share with the rest of the players.

It is my responsibility to guide and inspire my teammates.

I strive to be a vocal presence on and off the court, fostering an environment of trust and camaraderie.

I want to ensure that every player feels confident and supported, knowing that we are all working towards the same goal – winning.

That’s really my main focus this season – winning.

Last year, I feel like we gave away a lot of games we could have won.

With our returning players and new guys coming in, I’m confident we can turn those into wins this year.

That’s what I came back for.

We’ve got more to accomplish as a team.

And I think we are starting to put those pieces together right now.

What’s next?

Looking past this year, I plan to use my degree and the great network here at Stony Brook to transition into a business career.

I’ll be sad when the day comes that I leave basketball behind, but I’ll know in my heart that the time is right.

Being given this fifth-year chance fills me with determination to make the most of it.

I know that there are challenges ahead, but I am prepared to face them head-on.

My goal is not only to excel individually but to lead my team to victory. I believe in the potential of this group, and I am committed to leaving it all on the court.

This is my chance to make a lasting impact and to show the world what I’m capable of.

And I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me and this team.

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