Shelton basketball-junkie Jay Cimmino earns captaincy

Jay Cimmino will start at guard for coach Brian Gardiner.

Jay Cimmino will start at guard for coach Brian Gardiner.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

Jay Cimmino was first in the door.

“Guys were supposed to be here for practice at 8:45 on Saturday, Jay was here at 8:15,” Shelton boys basketball coach Brian Gardiner said of his 5-9 senior co-captain. “I let him into the gym as much as I’m allowed to. He would be in there all day.”

“It is about staying mentally prepared at all times. I always want to be the first guy there and the last guy to leave. It is about doing the work right so that you can be ready for the opportunity when it comes,” said Cimmino, who put on muscle mass and worked on his agility during the quarantine. He also played with DTX program out of Trumbull.

“Over these past hectic eight months, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be with DTX. We practice four days a week and played in tournaments and that helped with my development,” Cimmino said. “I’ve worked for this all my life and to have this chance to help my team is great.”

What is means to be a captain isn’t lost on Cimmino.

“It is an amazing feeling to say I am a captain for a team like Shelton,” he said. “Playing for Coach Gardiner, well him being the SCC Coach of the Year says it all. He is amazing. As a freshman I never thought I would be in this position. I’m doing all I can to help my teammates.”

Gardiner remembers Cimmino’s tryout.

“He was one of the last to make the freshmen team. Usually you don’t make it much past that, but he kept getting better,” Gardiner said. “Now he is a captain. He goes to all the training sessions. It is his desire to improve that makes him. I give Jay all the drills to do in the offseason and he takes it seriously. Jay is a basketball junkie. He just loves the game and works hard at getting better.” Twitter: @blox354