By John Rohlf
The St. Ambrose men’s basketball team is looking for a bounce back season after a disappointing 2012-2013 campaign and, if their first two games are any indication, it looks like a turnaround is very possible.
After suffering through a 10-20 season one year ago, the Bees are looking to rebound in a big way this season. Head Coach Ray Shovlain is optimistic that this will be a good season for his squad.
“We’ve got a lot of first year players who are ready to prove themselves,” Shovlain said. “We combine that with bringing in a number of first year players that we feel are ready to contribute right away. As long as we can get those two groups to effectively mesh together, we feel like we will have a very solid club.”
One of the factors in sports that is not very well known is that much of the improvement a team makes from year to year does not occur during the season. The teams that improve are the teams that put in work in the offseason and get better then. One of the reasons that the Bees are so optimistic about a turnaround is they put in the necessary work in the offseason.
“We have a significant number of returning players that played quite a few minutes last year that made a commitment to become significantly better over the summer and they accomplished that,” Shovlain said.
The Fighting Bees kicked off their non-conference play on the first day of November. They began the season with a win in Hannibal, Mo. against Hannibal-LaGrange. They followed that win with a victory in their home opener against Crossroads. Although they have picked up wins in their first couple games, it does not mean they do not have room for improvement.
“Anytime you win on the road, especially the first game out of the gates, is very good. The guys played exceptional defensively and rebounded well. We did not shoot the ball very well and we were still able to win on the road, which is impressive,” Shovlain said.
That said, the Fighting Bees have a long way to go if they want to be the team their coach believes they can be. They also started 2-0 last season, so they must keep working if they want to achieve great things this year. That said, they are off to a good start. If they can keep the momentum going and continue to improve, this team has a good chance to be successful.
“If everyone comes together well, we avoid injuries in real key spots, and everyone makes sure they have their classroom work up to speed, we’d expect to compete for a conference title as well as a national tournament bid,” Shovlain said.