David Penney looks forward to the new year

SFU point guard discusses the importance of faith, teamwork, and commitment

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Close up shot of David Penney passing the ball off while being tightly defended.
David Penney passes the ball to a teammate versus Western Washington for one of his eight season-high assists. Michael Potash / Western Washington Athletics

By: Charlene Aviles, Staff Writer

Name: David Penney

Pronouns: He/him

Major: Health Science, third year

Position: Point guard, #3

Favourite basketball player: Myles Powell

David Penney is a sophomore on the SFU men’s basketball team. In 2016–17, he became a National Preparatory Association (NPA) All-Star and his team placed second in the NPA Championship. In an interview with The Peak, Penney reflected on his growth as an athlete.

His transition from tennis to basketball was the first step in paving the way for his basketball career at SFU. At seven years old, he caught people’s attention by dribbling his tennis balls. Soon thereafter, he was invited to a basketball camp, where his love for basketball began.

Recognizing SFU’s academic and National Collegiate Athletic Association opportunities, Penney chose to sign in 2019. After moving from Guelph, Ontario, he fell in love with BC’s beautiful nature.

As part of his game-day routine, Penney listens to Drake’s Do Not Disturb during the pregame shoot. He explained calming lyrics motivate him before a match. 

“My biggest pregame ritual that’s a staple in my life right now is [running] out to the court. And before I run out, Ill [ . . . ] splash water on my face, pick myself up, and I’ll take a snack, like grapes.”

On his performance this season, Penney noted the games against UBC and Western Washington University (WWU) stood out the most. At the SFU Showdown game against UBC on November 20, 2021, SFU won the Buchanan Cup by a score of 82–90. In the match against WWU, Penney scored 15 points.

This season he hopes “to win a conference championship.” In addition to his goals of improving his leadership skills and the team’s chemistry, he also strives to be a well-rounded student.

“It’s more about what you do outside of class and practice time. Are you willing to put in extra hours to become a better basketball player and a better student?” said Penney.

According to Penney, stellar basketball players go above and beyond by being selfless and prioritizing teamwork. “Somebody who’s selfless is somebody who creates their own shots, creates shots for other people and does things for the team.” 

He attributed his success as an athlete to “being able to build a strong support group.” Penney credits head coach Steve Hanson and the assistant coaches with pushing him to improve his communication skills as a leader by being more vocal. 

“I think guys trust me a lot more now that Im playing. Im playing more and Im more comfortable talking to them. And I think that theyve made me just a more patient and kind person, which has made me a better basketball player.”

If he had any advice for his younger self, it would be, “Not to be so hard on yourself. When things aren’t going right, that just means you got to keep pushing harder and never get down on yourself. And trust that if you work hard, good things will happen.”

Penney writes his motto “faith over fear” on his basketball jersey and shoes to motivate himself. He explained his faith in God inspires him to continue working towards his goals.

“If I believe in God, I believe God is there to help me, then I have no fear because I fear nothing but God. So everything in front of me will be handled by myself and God,” said Penney.

He added, “I shouldn’t be afraid of failing because I know I’ve done the work to succeed.”

Penney is most looking forward to the team’s home games against Seattle Pacific University (January 22, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.) and WWU (February 26, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.).

You can watch Penney play at his upcoming home game against Montana State University Billings on January 20, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Students can claim their free tickets by presenting their student ID.