Men’s basketball eyes championships

Thomas Gallick

This year the Kent State men’s basketball program introduced a new slogan “Shooting for 10 years of 20-win seasons,” a slogan senior forward Mike Scott might think of as an understatement.

“I don’t care about personal goals for myself this season, my only goal is to lead my team to a MAC championship and an NCAA championship,” Scott said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a senior as hungry as I am to win.”

The team won 21 games last year continuing a streak of 20-win seasons that began in the 1998-1999 season, meaning the team could reach the plateau of ten straight years of 20-win seasons this year.

Scott, one of five players in the Mid-American Conference East Division named to the preseason All-MAC Team, ranked seventh in the conference in rebounding and averaged 9.4 points per game last season. Scott said he appreciates the recognition, and felt it put even more responsibility on him to have a good season.

Coach Jim Christian said senior leadership, from Scott and forward Haminn Quaintance, should not be a problem.

“I hope they will be able to step up,” Christian said. “The one thing I think we’ve carried on here at Kent State through the years is the ability of our seniors to lead the team.”

Quaintance recorded 48 blocks to lead the team last season and grab second place in Kent State’s all-time record books for blocks in a season.

Christian also said he could not tell yet if freshman forward Antonio DiMaria would have the kind of impact or playing time sophomore guards Rodriquez Sherman and Chris Singletary had last year. He said he was excited to see what DiMaria could do in practice, along with the team’s three new junior transfers: guard Al Fisher, forward Rashad Woods, and the team’s tallest player, seven-foot center Gabe Garcia from Brazil.

He said the biggest change from last year’s team is the amount of depth the freshman and transfers bring to the new roster.

“First and foremost we have a lot of depth on this team,” Christian said. “It’s going to give us the ability to withstand injuries and have more competitive practices.”

Scott said this team is different from last season because of its superior motivation.

“We’re a lot hungrier as a team this year,” Scott said. “Last year we had the opportunity to be really good and we passed it up.”

Christian also listed the team’s goals as winning a MAC championship, although he did not go as far to say an NCAA championship was a possibility, like Scott.

“We have the same goals every year,” Christian said. “We want to win a MAC championship and play in the NCAA tournament.”

The men’s basketball team will play their first game, a home exhibition game against Hiram College, on Nov. 3.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].