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Many teams have different tactics that they use to approach in their upcoming season.
Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team Ryan Cain has his own philosophy. For starters, he doesn’t appoint team captains. He doesn’t like the idea of having the team lean on a set of players.
“We try to create a culture of leadership on the team and we don’t want to limit it to certain guys. I think leadership is natural in the game and guys that have special strengths will step up in those ways,” said Cain.
Another key factor in Cain’s coaching philosophy is to make sure the team doesn’t set long term goals. He believes the team needs to focus on day-to-day goals.
“We want to keep it at smaller goals and not worry about what happens at the end of the year, and not worry about what people might perceive to be big games are on the schedule. If you start thinking that way you might not play how you should play on a consistent basis. Our whole goal is to put a system in place so we are consistently playing as well as we can,” Cain said.
Junior Ben Olson agrees with his coach. “Short term goals is what I learned freshman year. You have to maintain that to sustain throughout the whole season. You have to ask yourself, ‘what do I have to do today?’ and not looking forward the LEC championship, but what’s going to happen today,” said Olson.
Although he has this mindset, he does have teams in mind that he wants to beat. Ty Nichols, a teammate and key player who scored 1500 points last season, agrees.
“As a team we have to get better every day at practice, from last season it’s our home record. We only lost two games at home but we need to improve on our road record, we lost to a couple of teams we weren’t supposed to lose to,” Nichols said.
They both said they want to beat Middlebury, Springfield, MIT and Eastern Connecticut.
Cain believes his team has one of the hardest schedules across the country. “I think the reality is, we play one of the toughest schedules in the entire country,” Cain said.
He added on that the teams they play are high ranked. “Our schedules is that good that you need to play your best every night,” he said. They were ranked seventh in New England at the end of their last season. Having one of the toughest schedules means players are going to have to step up.
Last season, the team only played two guys who had played for them in the past so everyone else had the opportunity to step up. Cain says it’ll be the same this year. He added on, “I think a lot of those guys that had the opportunity to play last year and used that opportunity to help them grow throughout the off season and the experience they have will be beneficial.”
During their off season, some of the players kept in touch. “At our level, for teams to be really good, it requires a group of players committed to it that have the desire to work on their own without having it to be mandatory — because at our level, it can’t be mandatory,” said Cain. He explained due to the NCAA, the coaching staff can’t obligate their players to do off season practice or leagues, it’s all up to the players.
Much like what Cain had said about having short term goals, the team is going to focus on the little things to improve this season.
For this season, the team is going to focus on playing faster and working to prevent fouls.
“It’s such an easy way for the other team to get points,” Cain said. Nichols said they’re going to be more spaced out on the court compared to last year.
The first-years this season are bringing a lot to the court, Olson said, “With the freshman coming in, they’re a lot more athletic, so there’s a lot we can do. They’re learning quick and have a lot of heart.” These tryouts have been different with the amount of freshman that are coming in. Cain said the team usually has a higher amount of freshman trying out.
Nichols said despite having eight to ten first years and few returners, the chemistry is strong. “We’re about to go to war with each other so we have to have each other’s back,” said Olson.
“From a coaching standpoint, this is an awesome group of guys. I think it’s a group of guys that if you come to our games, they’ll be enjoyable to watch and interact with. As you see us play, you’ll see a team that really gets along well with one another, that really cares about each other. I think when you watch a team with that type of approach and attitude it makes for a nice product,” said Cain.
Adriana Sanchez can be contacted