It doesn’t have to be another tough loss

Joe Harrington

The Kent State men’s basketball team suffered a loss over the weekend. Sophomore guard Chris Singletary was just turning the corner, scoring a game high 18 points against the rival Akron Zips and then BAM — he’s gone and no one, not Kent State coach Jim Christian, not Athletic Director Laing Kennedy, nor the All-Mighty knows when he’s coming back.

But we shouldn’t focus on losing Singletary at this point in the season. There are two players that can make up for his play — sophomore guard Rodriquez Sherman and junior forward Rashad Woods — and both came through Sunday against Western Michigan at the M.A.C. Center. The Flashes won 67-58 and Sherman scored 12 points and Woods nine points.

Now, 12 and nine points are hardly basketball hall-of-fame numbers, but points are not always the best statistics to determine a player’s worth.

Woods flew through the air in the first half against Western Michigan, causing me to gasp because I have never seen him jump that high. In the second half, Woods knocked down a huge three-point shot and was aggressive on defense. Sherman’s energy was much needed, as he took Singletary’s spot in the starting line-up. He continually made huge hustle plays throughout the game and was one of the players responsible for the 10-point second half come back.

” He was getting to the basket and making plays, rebounding, doing everything that Rod does,” senior forward Mike Scott said of Sherman’s game.

As great as Sherman was, and hopefully he will keep playing to that level after a slow start, Woods is even more important to this team without Singletary in the line-up.

Why is Woods, a 6 feet 5 inch forward and a guy who rarely plays more than 10 minutes a game so important?

Because calling Singletary, 6 foot 4 inches tall and 225 pounds, a guard is like calling Sylvester Stallone a method actor. Sure he gets into the roles he plays, but can you really call him a “method actor.” The point is Singletary plays more like a forward than a traditional shooting guard. Most of his points came off offensive rebounds and tip-ins, or in basketball speak, garbage buckets.

Woods is actually taller than Singletary, but plays more like a guard. He shoots incredibly well from the three point territory, his 43 percent shooting is good for second in the Mid-American Conference, and he was one of the most highly-recruited players on the team (Woods is a transfer from DePaul University and was the 40th best player in the country, according to, while at Westbury High School in Texas). These are all reasons why Woods should emerge from the “Singlegate” incident as a “savior” to a March postseason run.

He’s not perfect, and I’m not about to nominate him for president or start a facebook group dedicated to Rashad Woods. His biggest problem is that he plays more like a guard, the opposite of Singletary. Woods runs down the court and sets up in the corner and gets ready to shoot his three-pointers instead of running into the paint and posting up. It’s one thing to say that a player is 6 foot 5 inches tall and should be a force in the middle. However, the question is: Do you take his strength away?

Akron coach Keith Dambrot said the best thing Christian does is putting players into positions that best fit their style of game, so maybe Woods doesn’t have to move inside and play like Singletary. And maybe his only problem is that he doesn’t have words shaved into the back of his head like his should-be-identical twin, former New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason.

Woods’ height and size, 235 pounds, means that he will absolutely see more playing time until Singletary’s status is upgraded. This means that by the time February rolls around, Kent State fans will know if Rashad Woods is going to be a major factor in the MAC tournament — with or without Singletary.

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].