Cusano’s Making Plays for East Haven
Kyle Cusano fell in love with basketball while playing the sport with his cousin in the backyard. Kyle took his passion for the court to the East Haven boys’ basketball program, where the senior has transformed himself into a playmaker as starting guard for the Yellowjackets.
Growing up, Kyle played a lot of basketball with his cousin Trevor Angelo, who also played for East Haven and graduated in 2016. Kyle says that those training sessions helped shape his game as a basketball player.
“It was a lot of fun. He took valuable time out of his own time,” says Kyle of Angelo. “He really helped me practice playing in the backyard. It really helped me.”
Kyle started playing basketball in North Haven’s rec league when he was 6, continuing through 8th grade. In 6th grade, Kyle tried out for North Haven’s middle school team, but didn’t make it at the final cuts. However, in 7th grade, Kyle made the middle school team and also played both travel and rec for the next two years.
Kyle played for North Haven’s freshman team during his first year of high school. At first, Kyle felt a little nervous about facing a higher level of competition. However, as the year went on, Kyle learned many valuable lessons that he would carry with him to East Haven.
“It was a big transition. I was definitely nervous as a 14-year old,” Kyle says. “But trying out for the team and practicing with the team, it just went good. I definitely learned a lot.”
Kyle moved to East Haven prior to his sophomore season. He tried out for the Yellowjackets and got the call that he had made the squad. Kyle remembered his experience in 6th grade and, after he found out that he’d made East Haven’s roster, he was “jumping up and down bragging to my family for a week.”
However, while he made the team, Kyle was still moving to a new town and playing with new teammates. While it was initially a challenge, in the end, Kyle found that playing for the Yellowjackets was a great opportunity for him.
“It was tough. I was making new friends, meeting new teammates, trying out for a new coach,” says Kyle. “Ultimately, it was a great transition. This is the best group of guys I’ve ever played with. I love taking the floor with them.”
After playing JV as a sophomore, Kyle started seeing more varsity time in his junior season. Now a senior, Kyle is a part of the starting lineup for the Easties, who have a record of 9-4 this year. Kyle says that he started training harder last spring and working more on becoming the best basketball player he could be.
“Freshman year, I was definitely slower. I wasn’t as athletic,” Kyle says. “Last May, I started working out, I started training. I got better. It took me back to playing in my backyard.”
Kyle is known for his smooth shot on the court, but he also prides himself on playing strong defense, his court vision, and doing everything he can to put East Haven in a winning situation. Head Coach Frank Lyon agrees, saying that the senior always comes prepared and is always ready to take the big shot.
“Kyle is a great competitor who loves the game. He shows up every day ready to work and lead this group,” says Lyon. “There’s no moment too big for Kyle. When the team needs a big play, Kyle wants the ball.”
Kyle has embraced the Yellowjackets since moving to East Haven. Basketball has been Kyle’s favorite sport going back to those days in the backyard, and he feels proud to share his love for the sport with his East Haven teammates.
“It means a lot to me to call myself a basketball player and play for East Haven. It means a lot to compete every day,” Kyle says. “I love it. It’s everything. I love going to practice every day with these guys. It’s all great.”