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Finishing up senior season

The final season is coming to a close for senior forward Will Joyce, now that the Southern Utah University men’s basketball team only has three regular season games left.

Joyce has played for the Thunderbirds for two seasons after transferring from New Mexico Military Junior College. In his second season playing for the Broncos, Joyce averaged 6.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game.

This season for the Thunderbirds, he has had 65 rebounds, 8 steals, 8 blocked shots and is second on the team for field goal percentage, shooting 58.7 percent.

Head coach Todd Simon is more impressed by Joyce’s ability to focus when playing.

“It’s his last year and he very easily could have gotten frustrated and he didn’t,” Simon said. “He wanted to keep getting better and stay true to the whole process, and that’s the most important thing.”

With all the ups and downs Joyce has had this season and only three regular season games left, Joyce has his mind on one thing: winning.

“It’s my senior year; I want to go out with a bang,” Joyce said.

For Joyce, playing in front of and for Cedar City means everything. His proudest moment on the court at SUU was against Northern Arizona University (NAU) a week ago. The Thunderbirds were on an 11-game losing streak when the NAU Lumberjacks came to town.

In a well-executed game for the Thunderbirds, Joyce had 8 points and 7 rebounds, helping lift the Thunderbirds over the Lumberjacks for the 84-64 victory.

“It was just the fact that we won for the crowd and for the fans,” Joyce said. “(Cedar City) (is) always here to watch us play, even though we did not have a good year so far.”

Simon especially knows the love that Joyce has for Cedar City and SUU.

“The guys know (Joyce) cares, and, from the seniors on down, they really want to win for this community, they really appreciate this community and this campus and the students,” Simon said. “So there is an appreciation there and we are playing for something bigger than us.”

While Joyce did not lead the team in scoring or any other major category, he was a spark of energy for the Thunderbirds during rough times, Simon said.

“He has always been the energy guy for us,” Simon said. “At no point in the season did he just give up.”

Along with the energy and determination to never give up, Joyce brings many other good qualities with him.

“Will is easy to get along with,” Simon said. “He is very supportive of his teammates; he brings a level of excitement to the bench and is happy for other’s success, which is a great thing for (the) team.”

Joyce and the Thunderbirds will take on Sacramento State University in Sacramento tomorrow before their last two home games of the season next week.

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