By Kaleb Page
February 16, 2015
The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team has seen something of a metamorphosis from just a year ago. At this point a year ago the Falcons were sitting at an overall record of just 11-14 with a 5-7 record in the Mid-American Conference. That season went down as a rather unsuccessful one that could be added on to the list of ones before it (2012-13 season: 13-19, 2011-12 season: 16-16, 2010-11 season: 14-19).
Where was the hope? Where was the possibility of even seeing men’s basketball have any amount of success moving forward? Those questions could be answered by a change of direction.
Upon finishing the season on a four game losing streak along with a record of 12-20 (6-12 MAC), the time for change was now. On March 25, 2014 a new leader entered and the direction for the Falcons changed. That leader was none other than former Wichita State assistant coach Chris Jans. From the start of his press conference announcing his hiring, he had that feeling of someone who was going to turn things around.
What that turnaround might be nobody could know. Would it be a two or three game improvement, development that was hard to see but diagnosed by Jans as being there in practice or something different altogether? In the eyes of the media it seemed as though this new hire would help the Falcons reach fifth place at best in the eastern side of the MAC.
But what if I told you none of those things have happened thus far? You would probably think it went south fast and the bottom is where this Falcon’s team went if none of the above things happened. However, that would be far from the reality of this season thus far.
At this point in the season the men’s basketball team sits at an impressive 17-6 record (9-3 MAC East) and in sole possession of first place on the eastern side of the conference. This team has grown leaps and bounds from what it was a year ago at this time. The team has already surpassed its win total from all of last season and there are still six games remaining on the schedule.
If you told someone this would be what the team of a year ago looked like today, they probably would laugh and think you were crazy. Even more so would it be crazy to even imagine this team in talks to be an NCAA tournament team. Which this week has seen the Falcon’s mentioned as a 12 seed, and if they would reach the tournament it would be the first time since 1968 a team from BGSU made the big dance.
Even though coach Jans and his staff deserve a lot of credit with taking basically the same team and building them up to what they are today; an equal amount of credit needs to be shown the way of the players. You can start with the star player Richuan Holmes being a force inside on defense and offense showing his array of high-flying dunks and blocks. Even though he can be looked to as the ‘star,’ he would probably be the first to say the season would be nothing without guys like: Zack Denny who leads the MAC in steals with two a game, junior college transfers (Delvin Dickerson, David Joseph and Jovan Austin) making huge contributions, Spencer Parker becoming a dynamic threat off the bench and senior guards Anthony Henderson and Jehvon Clarke providing pop in the back-court. With young guys like Garrett Mayleben, JD Tisdale, Rasheed Worrell and Matt Fox waiting their turn, it looks like the team has a good balance of youth, size and athleticism to power this bright future forward.
I’ve had the privilege of broadcasting two BGSU games as a member of the Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization (BGRSO) this season, and it has been something special to witness. This team just looks like a team you want to be on. They actually hustle and go for it on both ends of the floor each and every night. While I know at times they do have their lapses of judgement like any other team, it still must be said that this team is something special considering what it has done in a relatively short time.
With little expectations for this squad, they have proven the doubters wrong in every way thus far. This is why it is time for this team to capitalize on what it has done so far and push all the way to something bigger than anyone could have imagined: a MAC title. If that goal is accomplished then the sights should be set on getting to the NCAA tournament, and not only getting there but being competitive.
Even if the big prizes don’t end up in Bowling Green this year, this team has nothing to be ashamed of. Coming out of the seller to being a team to look out for is quite the accomplishment in itself.
Keep it up BGSU men’s basketball and ROLL ALONG!