The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 5: Leadership
Yes, this countdown is almost over. It started in August. I’ve got until Friday to finish it. Fortunately, I’ve had great senior leadership pushing me on. … Not really. It’s just me and the dogs, Fergus and Henry, who hate when I’m working on my laptop.
The Flyers do have leadership. They lost one captain — temporarily maybe or maybe not because who knows what’s going on with Dyshawn Pierre though his case returns to court next week — but have three junior captains in Kyle Davis, Scoochie Smith and Kendall Pollard
“All three guys are different in their own way,” coach Archie Miller said before the start of preseason practices. “We’ve got to get them more vocal. Clearly, I think when the rubber meets the road and you’re out there playing to win, those are going to be the three guys we’re going to look at and say, ‘They’ve got to get the job done.’ All gained tremendous experience last year. All of them are very confident. They believe they can win. Now they’ve got to get other guys to come with them.”
With 12:45 left in the first half, UD’s high-flying junior forward Kendall Pollard — who hadn’t practiced all week because of a bruised shoulder — went in for a layup and was fouled hard by Turnage, who knocked him across the baseline and onto the floor near where the cheerleaders were lined up.
The takedown drew a tangle of bodies and from out on the court Davis knew what likely would be coming next. Pollard would morph into the Incredible Hulk and his green-eyed fury would be directed at Turnage.
Without hesitation, Davis, one of the UD captains, moved around the referee, waded into the scrum and grabbed Pollard.
Although the 6-foot-6 junior forward would get whistled for a technical for his verbal response, the outcome could have been far more serious.
“Me and Kendall and Scoochie (Smith) have been around each other and we know how we react,” Davis said. “I know Kendall can be explosive sometimes and I saw it coming, so I wanted to calm him down and not let it escalate. I just told him: ‘Big fella, we don’t need that right now. We need you this game and we’re gonna need you in the next game. And he listened. He realized he had to calm down.”