SPORTS OPINION: Falcons basketball squad learning to fly

By Todd Thomas

Truman forward Mike Cantre leads the Falcons in scoring_.jpg

Truman forward Mike Cantre leads the Falcons in scoring. Photo by: Todd Thomas

As far as wins and losses, this year’s men’s basketball team has already surpassed the two-win total posted by last season’s team. The Falcons are 4-20 so far this year, and although the wins have been hard to come by, they are steadily improving as they build both confidence and chemistry on the court.

“We need to dial in and focus more as the season progresses,” said sophomore forward Kenneth King, who’s averaging 12 points and 12 rebounds per game. “We thought it was going to be easy, but we’re getting more serious and getting better every day.”

The season goes by fast, and the Falcons will have get on a roll to meet the pre-season goals they set for themselves. Freshman guard Hassan Potts has confidence they can get it done: “My expectations before the season was to win our region. Our record isn’t what we expected, but I still think we have an opportunity to win. We’re young – mostly freshman – and we’re still trying to get the hang of everything.”

One area the Falcons need to improve is how they interact with each other on the basketball court. It’s one thing to play the game, but communication is also important, said King: “We need to communicate more. Sometimes we don’t communicate [but] just go out and play. If our communication gets better as a team we’ll get better.”

Forward Mike Cantre, who leads the team in scoring at 15 points per game, also thinks the team needs to work more as a unit to reach their potential: “The team has grown a lot, but we need to grow more together – then we’re going to win more games. It’s all about chemistry, and chemistry takes time.”

Cantre played for Truman in 2014, then sat out last season to focus more in the classroom. Being off the court for an entire season was not an easy task, but Cantre said his grades come before sports.

“I wanted to focus on my academics and get my grades back up where they should be – I wasn’t happy with a 2.0 GPA. Being a student comes before playing basketball. I didn’t know that coming out of high school, but now I understand that school is more important and school is going to drive me to where I want to be in the future,” Cantre said.

Falcon head coach John Cooksey commends Cantre for his willingness to forego sports to get better in the classroom.

“Mike’s decision to sit out last season exhibited tremendous growth personally for Mike. That was a tough decision for him, but really did allow him to progress academically. He will graduate in May, and that is the reason we are all here,” Cooksey said.

The Falcons would also like to see more fans come out to Rowlands Sports Center to cheer them on. A loyal crew attends most home games, but they need more.

“It feels like more of a ball game when we have a bigger crowd,” King said. There would be more energy.”

“The fans are like the sixth player on the court,” added Potts. “We need a little motivation at times. We need encouragement. The extra motivation means a lot.”

Cantre also wants more fans to come out, but realizes they want to see them win games.

“We’ve got to build our fan base. But first they’ve got to see us win some games. If we market ourselves and people help market us we can bring more fans to the gym,” he said.

Kenny King leads the team in rebounding_.jpg

Kenneth King leads the team in rebounding. Photo by: Todd Thomas

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