Experienced players, tangible goals, individual coaching attention, and a positive attitude – this is what’s kicking CC’s men’s basketball season to a great start with an impressive 5-0 record.
Their excellence so far has also propelled them in to their first appearance into D3Hoops.com’s top 25. The tigers are currently ranked at 25th in the nation according to the website, which specializes in DIII Basketball.
D3Hoops.com was formed over the 1999-2000 season, and receives votes from coaches and other notable members of the DIII Basketball sports and media community. Colorado College finally cracked the top 25 for the first time in its 13-year existence after knocking off top-16 Whitworth University twice in less than two weeks.
The Tigers are excited by the recognition they have received for their efforts so far, but are still looking ahead to the rest of their season. In an interview with Communications, head coach Andy Partee said, “It’s a step in the right direction, but we’re not there yet. Our ultimate goal is winning a national title.”
While only losing one senior, forward Ian Rewoldt, this year’s team has been able to get a lot closer and better understand each other’s playing styles. This familiarity has played a huge role in their cohesive chemistry on and off the court so far this season.
The team has gained “two freshmen, Ben Lerman and Mitch Carter,” forward Daniel Webb said, “and they fit right in.”
This year’s team also has two veteran captains, Daniel Webb and Ryan Milne, and Webb says this year “as a captain it’s smoother the second time around.” In addition to captains and players who already know the nuances of CC’s basketball team, their frame of mind and goals this season are much more conducive for making room for improvements and keeping a positive and healthy attitude about the game.
Senior Daniel Webb said that the team’s “goal last year was to win the conference championship, which we lost in overtime, [so] one thing we all agreed upon last season was that that goal was always too far away to be motivating, [so] this year we’re focusing on getting better each day and each game at a time.” This strategy of focusing on each game at a time has definitely had a positive influence on their record so far this season.
The coaching this year and each assistant coach’s focus on and individualization of each player and their respective position has also had a huge impact on the efficiency of this year’s team on the court. There is one new assistant coach this year, Brian Gustafson. Both Gustafson and returning coach Ron Abeyta, “have been really helpful,” Dan Webb said.
When the head coaches aren’t around, both of these assistants work with the players as individuals and usually coach the position that they themselves used to play. Freshman guard Ben Lerman says, “We break [coaching] down by positions. Ron is very helpful for individual techniques [and] they teach what they played.”
Overall, Senior Chris Mayo-Smith says, “I’d say we are proud of the 5-0 record but not satisfied. We still have a lot to improve on and work towards in achieving our goals for the season.” The experienced leadership that comes from the three captains – Ryan Milne, Dan Webb, and Chris Lesnansky – helps foster a healthy and competitive environment in practice every day.
Between CC’s men’s basketball team’s positive attitude, tangible goals, and well-established chemistry, they’ve started the season off with a great start and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of their season.