PISCATAWAY – After a few individual workouts with his new head coach last spring, Myles Mack received a piece of paper from Eddie Jordan.
On it, Jordan had written down the things Mack needed to improve on, which where more about his presence than his overall game.
Things like be a leader, tell guys where they need to be and make your teammates respect you.
Nearly six months later, the list remains on Mack’s desk as a daily reminder.
However, leadership is not a new responsibility for Mack. He was thrust into that role last year as a sophomore when he was named a team captain.
“It was kind of tough because you got a couple [older] guys that are in front of you and you don’t know if they’re going to listen to you or not or if they trust you,” Mack told SNY.tv. “But I think I’ve gained these guys’ trust.”
It’s something he earned by averaging 13.6 points per game last season. He reinforced it with the way he carried himself through spring and summer workouts.
He’s the unquestioned star of the team. In turn, it’s his team, but he doesn’t see it that way, saying “we’re all one.”
The Paterson, N.J. native is the face of the state university’s program. Something he sheepishly acknowledges, but blocks out, instead focusing on improving his game.
“He leads by example,” senior forward Wally Judge said. “He comes in and he prepares just as hard as anyone else. He doesn’t look at it like ‘I’m the leading scorer. This is my team and I’m going to do this and do that.’
“He’s fitting in, but at the same time standing out. He’s a walking contradiction. I don’t know how to say it. He’s quiet, but his actions speak volumes.”
As Judge put it, Mack has “become more vocal without saying a lot.”
But when he does, ears perk up.
“When he will open his mouth and emphasize something, everyone is going to drop their jaw and listen,” Jordan said.
And when that does happen, it reflects his soft-spoken mentality. One that has had his head coach already dub him the silent assassin.
“I don’t yell or anything,” Mack said. “I just tell them what to do and move on instead of screaming at the guys because I know some guys don’t react to that well.”
Of course, if the same mistakes are made over and over again, Mack will raise his voice.
But mostly, he’s the calming presence to the team. The quiet, confident leader who doesn’t seek the limelight, but shines when it’s on him.
It’s a mentality that has endeared him with his teammates.
“A lot of times you have guys who are the stars of teams who make it known and are pretty much cocky in a sense and he doesn’t look for every last second shot to be his. He’s looking to create,” Judge said. “And just the fact that he’s being a team player even with all the success and he’s still getting his, it shows tremendous character, it shows tremendous leadership and it shows a will to win.”