Kyle Covley’s Remarkable Turnaround

The Oswego State men’s basketball went on a historic run in this year’s NCAA tournament.

That feat might’ve seemed unimaginable four years ago for Kyle Covley.

Coming into Oswego as a freshman, it was almost a complete 180 for the Laker guard. Oswego State Head Coach Jason Leone demands a lot of his player said Covley, and I had to be a lot more accountable.

“My freshman year was a lot different than high school,” said Covley. ”My coach in high school was completely opposite of Leone. He wouldn’t talk, he wouldn’t really yell, so coming in it was really hard to get used to that and how detail oriented he is on defense was one of the biggest things I had to overcome.”

After a disappointing freshman campaign, according to Covley, coach Leone told him that this offseason was going to be key for Kyle’s Laker career.

“Freshman year going into sophomore year he said that this was going to be a big jump and if you slack off in the offseason you’re not going to make a huge jump. Then I ended up not working out as much as I should have, so I kind of fell into a sophomore slump. So sophomore year I wasn’t happy.”

After always being best player on any basketball team he had played on, these first two years at Oswego were difficult for Covley. He was getting frustrated and angry at how he was playing. He wasn’t playing up to expectations and coach Leone started to think that it just may never work out.

“There was a point in time during his freshman and sophomore year, and he will admittedly tell you that, it looked like he might not ‘get it’.” Said Leone

Then came the turning point that changed everything. A simple 15 meeting with coach Leone would serve almost as a reality check for Covley.

“Sophomore year I wasn’t happy and then that I think was the turning point. That end of the year meeting I had with him at the end of my sophomore year because I kind of looked at myself in the mirror more. He was saying that if you want to play better then it’s on you. And then I looked myself in the mirror.” Said Covley.

That was the moment that made it all click. He became more focused, didn’t slack off as much and started to take both ends of the floor seriously.

“Kyle is an interesting story. He came into Oswego as a guy that was a great scorer, but over the course of his four years here, he’s turned into the best defender on our team.” Said Leone. “The growth that I’ve seen from Kyle in his four years is about as much growth as I’ve seen in a guy in my 17 years of college coaching.”

Fast forward to Kyle’s junior year, he helped lead the Lakers to just their second SUNYAC Championship since the 1964–65 season. This year Covley was a major part in helping the squad reach the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. Covley was also named to the SUNYAC All-tournament team, being the only Laker to be selected on that team, outside of Brian Sortino.

“Over the past three years I’ve played with him, he’s been a huge part of our team especially this year not even just on the court but in the offseason he’s always leading us in the weight room.” Said Sortino

That is very high praise for a guy that didn’t really work out much a few years ago. Sortino remembers last year’s conference run as his favorite moment with Kyle. “When we won the SUNYAC championship. It was a huge thing for our program, now we can go out with a SUNYAC championship.”

Kyle’s transformation and becoming more committed was what changed everything for him and he says he has no regrets.

“Everything happens for a reason.” Said Covley.

Looking back on it all and determining if it was all worth it, Kyle had this to say.

“It was a long season, and journey, but it was fun I’m gonna miss it. I’m gonna miss it.”