The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Men’s Basketball Prepares for Upcoming Season

As the semester starts to draw to a close, the Grinnell basketball season is about to begin. The men’s basketball team spent their last weekend before the official start of the season by playing a scrimmage against the Grinnell alumni team on Saturday, Nov 9. The team will face their first regular season game right here at home tonight at 5 p.m., when they play Finlandia University.

Brent LeMoine ’16 [left] and Cody Olson’14 [right] go up against Kale Knisley ’11 in the Grinnell alumni game on Nov. 9. Photograph contributed.

Consisting of seven first-years, three second-years, seven third-years and three seniors, this year’s team is relatively young, which should make for an exciting season.

It’s always difficult for sport teams to adjust to losing seniors and to attempt to get their new players acclimated before the season begins. Grinnell lost nine seniors last year, important players who provided leadership and brought a lot of energy to the games.

“Our biggest challenge will be replacing so many lost seniors from last year. Our graduating class had a little bit of everything: leadership, size, defense, scoring,” wrote Pat Maher ’14 in an email to the S&B. “It will take a lot to replace them. It will have to be a team effort including newcomers playing significant roles and others who played last year to step up.”

Despite this challenge, head coach David Arseneault is optimistic about the team’s prospects.

“I’m confident that we are making strides and improving every day. We are a very different team from last year and our inexperience has reared its ugly head in several practice situations. Nonetheless, I still believe we have the talent to compete for a conference title,” Arseneault wrote in an email to the S&B.

The biggest adjustment for the newcomers is learning how to run Grinnell’s unique game plan, “The System,” in games. The System, which emphasizes a fast-paced, offensively-focused style of play, is considerably different from typical high school basketball, so most of the emphasis in practice so far has been drilling that into game plan into the younger members of the team.

“With so many new faces in key positions it always takes a little time for people to carve out a playing role. For the first-years in particular, the academics here are drastically different from high school and, on top of that, they’re learning a whole new basketball style,” Arseneault wrote. “We’re going to be fine, it might just take a little time.”

The team has been relying on scrimmages to find out the key problems they need to work on. The alumni game was an example of that. Although it resulted in a 120-86 loss, the team gained a lot from the game. In addition to giving new players experience playing the System, an important aspect that they’re working on is their team chemistry.

“The alumni game did not turn out very well, but I think we learned a ton from the game. With so many newcomers and players getting minutes who have not in the past, the game was a great learning opportunity. It’s too bad we didn’t perform to our capabilities, but it is still early in the season,” Maher said.

There do not seem to be any anxieties for the upcoming Finlandia game; the overall sentiment towards the game seems to be one of excitement. It’s an added bonus that the first game of the season gets to be here in Grinnell, where the team can look forward to getting extra support from the home crowd.

“We know as a team what we have to do and, come Friday, we will be ready to fly around and have fun, anxiety-free,” Maher wrote.

With this can-do attitude, Grinnell is optimistic about the season.

“As is always the case, my predictions are when people come to the gym for a basketball game that they’ll be treated to a fast-paced, entertaining brand of basketball. I like coming to the gym because there is always the possibility of us doing something that’s never been done before in the game of basketball,” Arseneault said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *