The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Youth-driven squad looks to overcome inexperience

By Jack Wickham

Many fans often mourn the end of one sporting season, forgetting that another is right around the corner. The men’s basketball team has played two games so far, both away in Washington state. Though both games were defeats, the Scots do not necessarily have any reason to look down. With a charged new recruiting class and a total of eight new members on the team, the men will have to make some drastic changes to their style of play.

It is important to note the talent that graduated in 2008. Forward Tom Conboy ’08 and guards Abe Woldeslassie ’08 and Brian Ranwick ’08 were the team’s three leading scorers, respectively. In addition, Woldeslassie led in assists and minutes per game.

The biggest loss, however, was Conboy. As Macalester’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, he was the most tremendous force on the Scot’s team, averaging a double-double (23.2 points and 10.8 rebounds) his senior year. The 6’8″ power forward also garnered numerous honors, including his addition to the all-MIAC team three years in a row, MIAC player of the year in 2008, and inclusion on the Division III all-West Regional team. Out of 101 collegiate career games, Conboy scored in double figures in 97 of them, racking up a total of 1,909 points over four years.

The Scots are looking this year to revitalize the team. Along with last year’s part time starters guards Paul Richie ’10, Kyle Hamblett ’11 and forward Jerry Kraus ’10, guard Nate Assel ’09 and forward Colin Keeley ’11 have started the Scots’ last two games. While in the past the group was rather guard heavy in terms of the makeup of the team, this year’s team has greater height, and more members overall. Still, with the absence of Conboy in the post, the team’s offense has a different dynamic.

“The new offense has more motion and movement, as opposed to last year, where we always looked to give it [to Tom] in the post,” said Hamblett. “However, we are better defensively.”

Hamblett, so far this year’s team leader in points and steals, started in 16 games last year, and averaged six points per game. Along with the other veterans on the team this year, he will have to step up to fill the hole left by Conboy, Woldeslassie, and Ranwick, which he acknowledges.

“This year has a lot of younger guys who have to pick up on the scoring. We need to work on our offensive patience, and our turnovers.”

This last statement rings true. The team collected a total of 58 turnovers in the last two games, including 19 in the first half against University of the Puget Sound.

The team, however, still shows promise. In their first game against Pacific Lutheran University, the Scots shot 48 percent from the field. The offensive effort was led by Hamblett with 24 points and four assists. Keeley also helped out with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The defense was also well played. The Scots amassed a total of 14 steals, 9 blocked shots, and 21 forced turnovers. In the end however, because of good three-point shooting and foul shooting from the opposing team, the Scots fell to the Lutes 84-72.

The second game, against University of the Puget Sound, showed the Scots’ vulnerabilities. The men shot 35 percent from the field, and were out-rebounded 42-30, including an offensive rebound differential of 16-5. Another problem was turnovers. The Scots lost the ball 31 times over the course of the game. The final score of 87-51 shows that the Scots have a lot to work on.

Their next game, against Northwestern-Roseville on Nov. 25th, will be telling of the team’s progress.

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