During an early-season basketball practice last fall, Tom Espinosa once remarked to his coaching staff that their team “does everything really well.” But neither Espinosa, the coaches, nor the players ever rested on that, and in March finished off the greatest season in PSA basketball history, winning its third national championship with its first undefeated season at 38-0.
Wednesday night, the team put the final touches on that perfect season with its championship ring ceremony. “This was an incredible night,” Espinosa said. “That was an incredible team. I said it during the ceremony that they are the best team in Putnam Science Academy history, and that’s saying something because we’ve had other teams that have been really talented, won national
championships, just been really great teams. “I learned a lot from this team. These guys reminded me that basketball was supposed to be fun. They played with energy, they played with swagger. People don’t like Putnam Science
Academy, and this year we really embraced that. It’s true when we say, “Putnam -vs- everybody,” it’s a true statement. So what we did was go into these prep schools and kicked their butts. We punched them in the mouth and we kicked their butts. Then we went into their locker rooms, and we celebrated. It was a very unique year, a special year. It was a fun year. And to celebrate that again tonight, it just brought back all those special memories and feelings.”
In all, 36 rings were handed out to players, coaches, and support staff. Six players – Darryl Simmons, Mouhamed Dioubate, Miles Rose, Duane Thompson, Adamu Muazibini, and Travis Upchurch – return for this season and were part of the in-person ceremony. Former players who are now playing in college joined the livestream and were texting their former teammates throughout the evening.
“Sitting there tonight, there were a lot of memories,” said Simmons, who was also part of the 2020 title team. “Thinking about Barry (Evans), Arturo (Dean), DayDay (Gittens), and all the other guys. We had a great bond. All those memories came back, thinking about the pep talks before the games, how we always said we weren’t going to lose. I was thinking about the practices and the 6 a.m. training that we did and how hard we worked, the sacrifices we all made to make it possible. It was a good night of remembering all that stuff.” The Mustangs officially open their season with their first practice on October 15.
They will unveil the new championship banner and begin defense of their crown at the season opener against Lee Academy on November 4. “You win one, you want two,” Espinosa said. “You win two, you want three. Now we have three and we definitely want No. 4.”