Inexperienced roster creates challenges

Jonas Fortune

Bob Lindsay, Kent State women’s basketball coach, has faced many different obstacles throughout his 18 years on the Flashes’ bench, yet nothing has stopped him from becoming the winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history.

But, this season presents challenges Lindsay has never faced before.

The graduation of six seniors and the August arrest of returning starter Jamilah Humes and junior college transfer ChyTearra Kintchen have left the Flashes roster very thin for the upcoming season.

“I think this might be the first team that I have had in the 18 years that I have been at Kent that does not return a starting player for me,” Lindsay said at the 2007 MAC Women’s Basketball Media Day at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland yesterday. “Not only do we have five new players that are playing, but we have no returning starters from last year’s team.”

Humes would have been the only returning starter on the team but has been suspended indefinitely – along with Kintchen – after being charged with receiving stolen property. According to the media guide, the two will redshirt this season.

The loss leaves Kent State – picked by members of the MAC Media Association and league head coaches to finish fourth in the MAC East – with just nine scholarship players available to play. Only three of them have seen any time on the court at Kent State.

Guard Asheley Harkins and forward Samantha Scull, both juniors, saw the most playing time last season. Redshirt sophomore guard Rachel Bennett did not play at all last year after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Harkins, who came off the bench to average 5.6 points a game and nearly two rebounds a game last year, will be one of the focal points on an offense that has lost its scorers from a season ago. Bennett’s return should help as well. She averaged 2.4 rebounds and 5.9 points a game her freshman season of 2005-2006, and Lindsay said her knee is back to 100 percent.

But with five new players, three of whom are freshman, Lindsay knows this season will be challenging for his inexperienced team.

“It’s going to take some time to develop chemistry, to have players know each other on the court and for players to develop experience, and that doesn’t happen overnight,” Lindsay said.

With such a thin and inexperienced roster, Lindsay doesn’t seem too worried about the season ahead. In fact, he said that predicaments such as these are what make coaching all worthwhile.

“The fun part of coaching is … trying to find ways and devise ways to overcome obstacles, and we have plenty of them this year, so I’m going to have plenty to do,” Lindsay said. “That’s the fun part. That’s the challenging part. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope our players are, too.”

Contact sports editor Jonas Fortune at [email protected].