By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE November 23, 2007 After Monday night’s basketball game, Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Coach Chris DePew gave his team a spelling lesson and a verbal spanking about its attitude.
“We’re having a big problem right now because there’s no ‘I’ in the word ‘team’,” Depew, the leader of the defending National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III national champions, said of his new group of players.
“I think there are about 12 guys on my team who spell ‘team’ with an ‘I’, and that’s going to change right now,” he added.
The Generals should take heed. DePew is a team player, and while he lauds individual talent, players should get used to the idea that SCCC didn’t rack up a perfect 32-0 record last season and win the national title in March at SUNY Delhi with every hoopster playing his own game.
“On Saturday, we took three steps forward, and tonight we took five steps back,” said DePew, comparing Saturday’s 79-69 victory over Broome Community College to Monday night’s 68-58 NJCAA Region XV win over the Manhattan Community College Panthers.
That was then, this is now.
“On Saturday, we played as a team, played together with a killer instinct and up to our capabilities,” DePew commented. “But tonight, we played to the level of our competition. We didn’t play hard, didn’t try and we wanted to yell at each other about how many points we scored instead of worrying about the basketball game… all the ‘I’ stuff.
DePew said some players are getting frustrated because when he sends them into the game and they make a mistake, he yanks them off the floor for a seat on the bench.
“I need a spark off the bench, not someone continuing to make mistakes,” he said. “I’m sick of the attitudes, that’s the issue right now.”
After taking a 37-30 lead at the half, the Generals outscored the Panthers, 31 to 28 in the second half.
Manhattan CC Coach Tony Davis felt that mistakes were a key factor in the game.
“We played hard, but just made too many mistakes down the stretch,” he said. “Missed rebounds and missed free throws killed us, that’s it in a nutshell.
“We’re getting there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got to practice harder,” Davis added. “We were playing the defending champions on their home floor, and we needed to come out with more fire.”
With the win, SCCC improved its record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Region XV. Manhattan CC fell to 0-5 on the young season.
Double-digit scorers for the Generals included Bertram “B.J.” McDowell, Tim McKnight and David Williamson. McDowell posted a game-high 23 points, while McKnight and Williamson each added 11 points.
Three Panthers also reached double figures in the scoring column. Deshawn Duncan led the way with 21 points, Jeff Noel netted 13 points and Christian Jones had 11 points.
SCCC held a slight edge at the free-throw line. The Generals made 20-of-30 (67 percent) foul shots, while the Panthers were 15-of-30 (50 percent) at the line.