Jags Miss Playoffs With 3 - 9 Conference Record
By Southwestern College Sun
Playoff perennials, the Southwestern College men’s basketball team endured a tough rebuilding year and a 10-7 season.
“I’m so glad we won 10 games,” said head coach John Cosentino. “But I’m thinking how did we win 10 games? We had a tough schedule and we were not the most talented team in the conference this season. Other teams celebrated when they beat us this season, because we’ve been the best team for so long. We’ve won for so many years that this season was a shock.”
SWC got off to a good start with strong non-conference wins against tough teams, three of those wins against teams who made the playoffs last year. But things began to go sour after a strong 2-0 start to conference play. Inexperience may have been the culprit, accord to freshman guard Darnell Williams.
“The whole team was pretty much freshman,” he said, “so we were just trying to find what our roles were, but as the season went on we were able to figure out who could do what and where to pass the ball to.”
Cosentino blamed a potpourri of reasons.
“It’s a combination of not having a leader on the court, overrating some of our recruits and me trying to constantly figure things out,” he said. “But even when we lost, we never quit playing and that’s a testament to our team.”
Freshman guards Dominique Miller and Williams were major ingredients of a winning formula late in the season. Both began to adjust to conference play and started to find holes in opposing defenses.
“Dominique is so good because he’s versatile and you put him out there and teams have to match up with him,” said Cosentino. “The only position that’s set is Dom’s position. He’s someone you can build around and with Darnell, I started him early and I kind of buried him on the bench. I should have had him starting all along. He will be the best defensive guard in the conference next season because he can guard anybody.”
Jags Guard David Scarafone provided the perimeter shooting this season that forced the zones to play all the way out and create space for Williams and Miller to drive in.
“I tried to play to Scarafone’s strengths, but I just should have put him out there,” said Cosentino. “Some of his threes should have been four point shots, he’s beyond NBA stuff. I used to tell him to shoot until he got hot. The team would laugh at me, but I’d tell him to start shooting as soon as he passed half court.”
Cosentino said the Jag’s had four talented redshirt freshman ready to play next season in addition to the players coming back next season.
“All the guys want to come back, but the competition’s going to be a lot stiffer,” he said. “And that competition can only make the team better.”
Cosentino said he plans to build around Miller next season and he hasn’t given up on the team. Miller said he is up to the challenge.
“Yes we are all young and have almost no experience,” said Miller, “but were still learning and we will build from here.”
With most of the players looking to return and more talent waiting to break into the first team, Cosentino said it is easy to be excited about next season.
“I’ve been coaching for almost 35 years and I learned probably more this year than I did the last couple of years,” he said. “I’m a work-in-progress and I’m excited about next season’s team.”