Lynch Sails To BC
Player Was At Kings Point
HARRISONBURG – Brian Lynch has nothing against the Army. He just wasn’t sure he wanted to commit to it for five years after college.
That’s why Lynch transferred from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this year. If he had stayed for a fourth year on the full scholarship the school had given him, he said, he would have been contractually obligated to serve five years. Among the choices were any branch of the military.
Lynch said he wanted other options, and the Bridgewater College basketball team reaped the reward.
Lynch, a 22-year-old Charlottesville native who spent three years playing hoops at the academy in Kings Point, N.Y., is back closer to home at BC for his senior season. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound forward adds sharpshooting and toughness – and, he’s also the only senior on coach Don Burgess’ squad.
Of course, senior doesn’t quite accurately describe Lynch.
“I felt kind of like a freshman,” Lynch said of when he first arrived at BC.
He doesn’t play like one. He’s already a starter for the Eagles – he started both in their opener Friday in the EMU Tip-Off Classic, an 85-72 loss to Ferrum, and in an exhibition at Division I Elon last week.
Although he has yet to be very productive – he was 2-of-8 from the floor Friday, with several 3-pointers rimming out — Lynch scored 1,000 points in high school, which included two years at Louisa County and two at St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville. And word has apparently gotten around about Lynch’s reputation – every time he entered the game, Ferrum coach Bill Tharp shouted, “No. 24’s a shooter!”
“I knew he was a shooter,” BC coach Don Burgess said of what he knew about Lynch before this year. “…And what I remember of him from high school, he was razor-thin. He’s gotten a lot bigger…He’s tough.”
Boot camp will do that to you.
Coming out of STAB, Lynch said he had his sights set on a scholarship offer. None came – except a late offer from USMMA, a Division III school that can provide scholarships to students in exchange for service after graduation.
Lynch said his USMMA routine included rising at 5:30 a.m., class from 7:45 until 4 p.m., and bedroom doors closed by 10. Then he’d have to stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. doing homework before starting all over.
“It was different,” Lynch said with a smile, describing the experience. “Things were pretty laid back at a private school like STAB, and then I get to boot camp. I was pretty shell-shocked.”
But once he got used to it, Lynch said he didn’t mind the military-school life. He said his experience there had nothing to do with transferring.
Rather, Lynch said he wants to pursue his options – including the possibility of playing basketball professionally overseas.
So he called Burgess at BC, a school he had glanced at in his high school days, and a college that was 1) close to home, and 2) equipped with a solid math program.
“He kind of fell into our lap,” Burgess said.
To help prepare for this season – and, possibly, basketball afterward – Lynch worked out over the summer in Charlottesville with Cory Alexander, now a college basketball television analyst who played at Virginia (1991-95) and spent six years in the NBA. Lynch said he worked a lot with Alexander on shooting off the dribble, and also added about 20 pounds of muscle.
He said he feels plenty of pressure to perform for BC, given that he has only one year to prove himself. But he said he’s quickly meshed with the Eagles’ players – and he’s confident that he can help.
“Coach Burgess said he likes versatile players, and shooters,” Lynch said. “He said I fit that role.”
So he will, for now. Then, he’ll decide whether he wants to play professional basketball, go to graduate school or join the Army, which he said is the option he would have pursued had he stayed at USMMA.
Now, at least, he has options beyond that.
“I’d be excited [to join the military],” he said.
“…People always ask me, ‘Why did you transfer? What are you going to do this year? I’m like, ‘I’m going to do the best I can.’”