The work ethic of RIT men’s basketball team member Jameel Balenton, a fourth year Electrical Engineering major from Syracuse, N.Y., is not up for debate

"He’s one of our hardest workers: day in and day out,” said Coach Bob McVean. From a tough freshman season spent mostly injured, Balenton improved his game and during the past two seasons he averaged 28.2 minutes per game tallying 593 points.

This year, when defending against Vassar’s Johnny Mrlik,  Balenton held his opponent to six points when Mrlik had previously averaged 18.2 points per game. Similarly, Lamar Powell of Bard College could only manage four points against Balenton when he had previously averaged 23.8 points per game. For his skill on both offense and defense Balenton was given an honorable mention in the 2014 All-Liberty League team selections.

Balenton’s freshman season RIT men’s basketball went 11-14 and missed the postseason tournament for the first time since 1992. In a streak that McVean described “atypical” the team failed to make the postseason tournament or break even posting a 9-16 record the following two seasons. With one year left Balenton and other captains got together and resolved to come back in with a new focus.

“We really wanted to achieve. We really wanted to win. We were sick of losing,” said Balenton. The renewed focus worked for the team as they flipped their record around to go 16-9 and have the first winning season in any of the player’s careers at RIT.

Balenton will complete his degree next year. After graduation his future is open and he has contemplated the idea of youth coaching later in life.

“He’s going to have an outstanding career.” said McVean “The carry over of his character and the way he approaches athletics is none less in his career and he will be very successful in whatever he ends up pursuing.”