New resolution: Just get better

Thomas Gallick

Luckily for the Kent State men’s basketball team, it’s the end of January, the traditional time of year to break New Year’s resolutions.

People all over the world are waking up and realizing they are never going to run that marathon or cut cookies out of the shopping list. Marathons are too long and cookies are too delicious.

With Saturday’s loss to Akron, the Flashes can finally cut ties with their equally unrealistic expectations to win the Mid-American Conference regular season championship and 20 games for the 11th consecutive season.

Kent State lost two of its best players when forwards Haminn Quaintance and Mike Scott graduated, with undersized senior forward Julian Sullinger, junior college transfer Anthony Simpson and junior center Brandon Parks taking over most of the duo’s minutes.

Fans of any other MAC team losing two marquee players with no proven heirs to take their places would cringe at the thought of next season. At Kent State, the fans and media predicted a championship.

It’s beyond time to get past all of that preseason hype.

I’m never going to fulfill my goal of waking up early every morning to lift weights while reading the classics of Western literature.

The Flashes are almost certainly not winning 20 games.

Hopefully, we can both move on from this point and write more reasonable goals.

I’ll go to the gym a few times per week and try to put some time aside for reading, while the basketball team can focus on getting into some kind of working order before the MAC Tournament.

The fans will just have to realize that a returning MAC Player of the Year in Al Fisher does not mean automatic dominance. Bringing in a Virginia high school basketball legend in Tyree Evans does not mean a trip to the Final Four.

All the experience and talent at guard in the world cannot save the Flashes in every game. They just need to recognize their limitations and move on.

Sure, Simpson is finding his way and Sullinger can surprise even against much larger opponents, but lack of depth down low is a new struggle for the team. And in games where Fisher and Evans struggle shooting the ball the way they did against Akron (3-of-12, 3-of-10), the Flashes simply have no chance.

No one in his or her right mind is expecting Kent State to win every game for the remainder of the season. The team just needs to show little signs of improvement along the way.

There cannot be a game in the future where Evans, Fisher and junior guard Chris Singletary make only three shots each while taking the vast majority of the team’s shots.

There cannot be a game in the future where the Flashes storm back against their rival to take the lead after being down 14 points at the half, only to score just six points in the last nine minutes of the game.

No lofty goals, just signs that the team is improving and learning from mistakes.

After all, no one deserves to be held accountable for their original New Year’s resolutions.

Contact assistant sports editor Thomas Gallick at [email protected].