By Eric Albury | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Eric Albury
With the Flagler College men’s basketball season shelved until next fall, the Saints have a whole lot to think about. After going a disappointing 2-16 in conference play and 9-17 overall, it appears to be time to reflect, make changes and improve for the next season.
Since Flagler’s induction into the Peach Belt Conference in 2009, Coach Bo Clark and his squad have had a tough time finding success against the stacked lineup of other teams.
“People just don’t realize how good the Peach Belt is,” Clark said. “Look at Montevallo, they played in a championship game on CBS this year. We’re in the best basketball league in the country for Division II.”
As if the difficult season couldn’t be any harder to swallow, the Saints will also be losing Justin Stokes, a senior forward who often came off of the bench to hamper the surging offenses, even grabbing a season-high 5 rebounds three times.
“Stokes will be hard to replace, we’re really looking for guys who can help on defense,” Clark said.
It goes without saying that after a season like this one, the Saints are looking to make some major adjustments to the lineup for a better 2012-2013 season.
“We’re rebuilding from the bottom up, completely,” said Elijah Hayes, freshman guard for the Saints. “Coach already got rid of five players as far as I know. We’re starting over with a new team and getting the extra help we need coaching as well.”
“I’m looking to add more pieces,” said Clark. “I need guys that are ready to play right off the bat and can give help immediately. Especially two rebounders.”
Even through disappointing seasons, there is always something that can be learned and applied for the next. Sometimes, terrible seasons can produce more than successful ones.
“We learned that basketball is more than a game,” Hayes said. “It is a tool that teaches us life lessons and how to deal with adversity. We were 0-11 in the conference at one point and coach said ‘there is going to be 0-11 times in life and that we just have to keep working hard and stay together.'”
Of course, life lessons aren’t enough to improve what happens on the court. Clark said he wanted to “emphasize taking care of the ball better and improve our defense.”
“We never really became disciplined as a team or came together, which is partially why the season went the way it did,” Hayes said.
Freshmen like Hayes received extensive playing time and experience this season, something that is sure to benefit the squad in the future.
“Our freshmen really did a good job,” Clark said. “Sometimes there were three or four freshman on the floor one time. Their feet got wet and got thrown into the deep end of the pool, if you will.”
“As a player my game really improved just through experience,” Hayes said.
Experience is often one of the best teachers, they say. Clark often hammers experience and learning through adversity into his players, hoping to bring their determination to max again after such a rough season.
“Losing is no fun, but if you can learn through adversity, it can really help,” Clark said.