Oliver Lynch-Daniels: Big Shot on and off the Court

Despite being a transfer student, senior Oliver Lynch-Daniels has made quite the name for himself as a member of the men’s basketball team and the larger Colgate community. 

“I didn’t start out at Colgate […] I’d [previously been] recruited, so I had known of [Colgate] and when I knew I was going to transfer after my sophomore year [from] Houston Baptist [University], Colgate was one of [my top] options,” he explained. “I knew it was a good school and knew the coaches, so it just seemed like the right fit, and has turned out well, so I really cannot complain.”

Because of previous NCAA rules, Lynch-Daniels could not play in any of the games during his first year at Colgate, and while a bit frustrating, he found it an overall positive experience that helped him in transferring schools. 

“[T]hat first year that I had to sit out [and] couldn’t travel to any games was when I actually met a bunch of new people that weren’t athletes. I got to connect with them so I felt like I had a good social group outside of the basketball team and I was able to hang out with them when there’s not much to do,” he said. “[While] I hated [not playing], at the same time it was good because it gave me time to get used to the team, sports program, and the school as […] I had to change my major [and] I lost a ton of credits.”

This experience has also made Lynch-Daniels more aware of the divide that can sometimes occur between student-athletes and the rest of the student body, and he advocates for trying to dismantle this. Furthermore, he believes that branching out in any form can help widen someone’s friendship circles and overall experiences in college. 

 “There can be [a divide] if you allow yourself to just stay within the team and not go out of [your] way to be part of [different] friend groups. For the most part you see everybody on your team every single day, so it’s nice to get some new faces, you know?” Lynch-Daniels said. “I would [also] say to just take advantage of opportunities that you have, whether that’s something you’ve done [already or] something new, to see what happens. At the end of the day, you might meet new people or be a part of a new group, so just don’t be afraid to try new things at a new school. I feel like you’ll really grasp a full college experience if you have friends from other groups. [That way] you get to see other experiences that people have at this school.”  

While it is important to branch out, Lynch-Daniels has also loved the impact that basketball has had on his own college experience, as he hopes to play for as long as possible. 

“[Basketball has] been pretty prominent because it’s one of the big things outside of school that I do here. I get to travel to a whole bunch of cool places and play some really good teams. We’ve been successful and have been able to go to the tournament so it’s been just an awesome experience [that has] shaped what Colgate is for me [in the] every day,” he said. 

Lynch-Daniels is set to graduate this spring. In the meantime, he’s soaking up his time with the team and looking ahead to career prospects. 

“Previously, I was working towards a kinesiology degree which is like how the body moves because [my plan is to] play basketball for as long as I can. So, I want to play pro after this year and then be a trainer, whether it’s basketball, or as a strength trainer.  When I transferred here, they didn’t have that as a major so […] I tried to keep it as closely related. I’m also picking up an Art and Art History [minor], so hopefully those will help me with what I want to do after I’m done playing basketball.”  

Reflecting on his time here, Lynch-Daniels believes some of his favorite memories come from being a part of the Colgate community in a variety of ways. 

“I think some of my best memories are [during] that first time in the spring when it gets warm and everybody’s outside. It’s not like one specific thing but it’s just more of a vibe that’s there. And one specific time would be winning the Patriot League Championship last year because there were a bunch of fans [for the first time] so it was nice to experience that with the Colgate community. Everybody rushed the court so that was a lot of fun and that is one I’ll probably remember for forever, to be honest,” he said. 

When asked about why he thought he was nominated as a “Colgate-famous person,” he cites his various involvements that have allowed him to connect with others outside of his core social sphere. 

“I think [I was nominated] just because I’ve been to a lot of places and I’ve met a lot of people. Transferring in high school… and meeting people from kind of all over the place at boarding school [plus] transferring here has let me meet a bunch of people and just create a lot of friends and connections.”