Dissecting the Men's Basketball season that was
Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
What happened out there:
Over the course of the 2010-11 Men's Basketball season, the Badgers experienced growing pains under a new regime. Look no further than their absence from the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Their most recent appearance in the OUA playoffs was capped off by a 2007-08 CIS Championship - something still fresh in the minds of their bench boss and athletics department leader.
While their involvement within the program in prior years was prominent, Brock University's interim Athletic Director, Chris Critelli, and interim Head Coach, Brad Rootes, partook in the true passing of the guard with a respectable 2010-11 campaign. Expect both of them to be back as Brock Athletics employees, except this time with permanent positions.
On the court, Brock fell apart down the stretch. They lost six of their last seven contests while in an intense race for the final playoff spot in arguably the toughest division in CIS Men's Basketball, the OUA West. To their credit, four of those matches were against two OUA Wilson Cup Final Four schools.
The combination of learning a fresh system, posting a 3-6 record in games where the margin of victory were five points or less and absorbing lengthy injuries stalled Brock's potential of being a Wilson Cup participant. Who to get excited about:
The 2010-11 campaign was Mark Gibson's breakout year. His 15 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 54.3 FG percentage were all undermined by a mid-to-late season injury that limited him to just 13 games.
Cedric Kasongo burst onto the university basketball scene with an 8.9 PPG and 3.9 RPG stat line. The native of Welland, ON will certainly take on a substantial role in the coming season.
2009 CIS Rookie of the Year, Didi Mukendi, who missed all of the 2010-11 season, will be back as fresh as he has ever been. Expect him to become one of the better OUA guards when Brock gets back in action.
Tshing Kasamba, who sat out the whole season as well due to CIS transfer regulations, will play his first game in a Brock uniform come September. Anticipate a sizeable impact from Kasamba, the former Chicago State Cougars (NCAA Division I) guard, as he brings two years of big school experience.
What was missing:
The Badgers were horrendous with turnovers this year. They managed to give possession away an average of 16.4 times per game.
Personal fouls were an even worse area. As the season progressed, teams constantly targeted their most obvious weakness and, in turn, the Badgers kept sending them to the charity stripe. Attention to this area in summer training should be extensive.
One of the chief concerns from the season is the consistency in which Brock shoots the ball. Their rankings in shooting percentage, both three-point and field goal, are in the bottom quarter of the league. Cautious shot selection and usage of the shot clock is essential in order to reverse the trend.
The big picture:
Four of their five captains - and likely Rootes - will be back for another go-around in September. This core will have all summer to develop a more concrete culture around the club, ultimately creating better group cohesion. Once players like Gibson, Mukendi, Joel Whitty (2.24 A/TO) and Andrew Kraus (14.4 PPG) begin producing to their full capability, the others will follow. In addition, Brian Nahimana, arguably Brock's top defender, will need to bulk up if he plans on taking on premier bigs in the OUA.
Effective recruitment in the summer of 2011 will be a huge step towards turning this team's fortunes around. A definitive big man with strong rebounding abilities should be on the radar for Rootes and company as they begin scouting.
Brock could have been a .500 team - and were for a while - but stumbled to the finish line for a number of reasons. Their best bet is to leave the 2010-11 season behind them while focusing on what's ahead.