By Tyler D. Whetstone
Men’s basketball Head Coach Sam Harris is confident his players are capable and that his team more than able to make some noise when the TranSouth Conference tournament begins the first day of March.
This is good news because winning the TranSouth tournament at the conclusion of the season is the only way Harris and his Trojans (10-13, 4-7) can advance to the national tournament for the first time since 2007-2008.
Unfortunately, the theme of the season, and constant battle has been that Harris has been unsure of what he’ll see from his team before every game.
“We don’t know who’s going to show up from game to game. If we’re going to be consistent in the second half of the conference we have to have eight to nine players that are consistently going to be giving us the same effort every time,” said Harris.
The last few weeks, this has been hard to come by for the Trojans.
Beginning January 13, the Trojans have lost seven of nine as of February 12, including two to rival Cumberland University, and have fallen to sixth in the TranSouth standings.
Granted, four of the seven losses have been by three points or less with buzzer beaters and last shots falling short on multiple occasions. However, those are the sort of games that Harris and the Trojans need to be winning.
“We have not responded to how the game is being played. We play the game one way and if it changes we’ve not emotionally and physically made the adjustments,” said Harris.
Even in games with outstanding individual performances the Trojans have had trouble finding ways to win.
For instance, junior Michael France’s career high 43 point outburst versus Martin Methodist, and senior Jeremy Dixon tying the school record with 7/8 three pointers in the game versus Blue Mountain College both resulted in losses.
For Harris, it’s a simple fix, just not one the Trojans have answered yet.
One more step.
“We’re talking about taking one more step. One more step [when you’re] closing in on the shooter instead of watching him shoot it. We’re taking one more step on the box out. We’re almost there, but we’re not,” said Harris.
When the Trojans can do that they’ll be ready for March. They’ll be ready for the TranSouth tournament. They’ll be ready to make one more step and they’ll be ready to make some noise in March.
“[We’re] so close, but so far because we haven’t grasped the one more step approach. That is the difference between winning and losing,” said Harris.
For Harris and the Trojans, one more step will be needed in leaps and bounds as they look to move up in the conference standing before the TranSouth tournament begins.