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It’s all about defense

November 8, 2013

Mike Olszewski / The Courier - Men's basketball practices for their first game against Central.

Monmouth’s men’s basketball looks to start their 114th basketball season off right next weekend when they tip off against Central College. The Glennie Gymnasium will play host as the Scots take on the Dutch next Saturday for the first game of their 23-game season.

The team ended last year with a 7-16 record, finishing eight places behind 2012-2013 Midwest Conference Champions, St. Norbert College who finished 20-6. Going into the regular season, St. Norbert looks to be the favorite in the Midwest Conference as they return a majority of players from last year.

The Scots, who have won seven individual Midwest Conference (MWC) titles since the program started in 1899, haven’t won a MWC Championship since the 1989-1990 season. Going into the 2013-2014 regular season, the men’s basketball program hopes to end their 24-season drought and making this season one for the record books.

The men’s basketball team heads into the season returning no seniors and just one junior. With a young team, Monmouth looks to have an up hill battle ahead of them but don’t feel this will affect their season. “We’re looking pretty good right now,” said forward Reed Goodbred. “We are a young team this year, but I think our chemistry is really improving and that will help us through the season.”

Junior Chad Thompson felt strong about the young team’s ability. “Individual stats are irrelevant. We have a roster full of guys that can go in any time and have a positive impact in many different ways.”

In the preseason, the team has been working on improving on both offense and defense. “Offensively we have so many different kinds of weapons,” said Nick Marema. “From shooters to drivers and big men in the post we’re always getting better.”

Shooting guard Wes DeClercq went on to discuss their evolving offense. “We don’t have that many scorers, we are going to have to score by committee this year,” said DeClercq. “We do a really good job of getting a hot shooter the ball.”

Beginning his third season, head coach Todd Skrivseth echoes his athlete’s opinions. “Offensively we are stressing ball movement. We need to get more interior passes and have to get more post touches. We need more guys willing to put the ball on the floor, get into the paint, draw help and kick the ball out to the open shooters.”

With a host of young players, the team also feels it might have to rely on its defense to keep them in games. “The biggest change from last year is that we are becoming a much more defensive team,” said Goodbred. “We’re going to have to hold teams down because we don’t have that many scorers after loosing our older guys.”

Being more defensive means being more in shape. Adopting a predominantly man-to-man defensive scheme the team will require more movement from its defensive players. Skrivseth said, “We just need to play harder for longer stretches.”

Skrivseth is confident in his young team’s capabilities to play hard. “We need to continue to do things the right way on a daily basis so we can be as good as we can possibly be. We have high expectations for ourselves. If we are over .500 that would be great but I don’t think our guys would be very pleased with that, they expect more and so does our coaching staff.”

Mike Olszewski
Sports Editor

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