After finishing last season with a 22-10 record, what does this season have in store for Sinclair’s Men’s Basketball team?
Last year they were ranked in the top 20 of Division II in the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) for many weeks, and ended the season in the final four. They are the only team in the division to have made it to the final four every year for the last five years.
This year the team is very young, with only four players returning from last year. Coach Jeff Price, Sinclair’s Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director, expects this to cause “many true Freshman mistakes, but those are teachable moments.”
Price explained that most of the players are coming from “a high school program where the coach calls the plays, I want my guards to call the plays. This can lead to some early losses, but at the end of the day our goal is for our student athletes to learn, I’m willing to take those losses to teach.”
Price certainly doesn’t want to lose, but winning isn’t the most important thing to him.
“Our guys want to get to the sweet 16, want to put a banner up in the gym, and I’m all for that, but I want my guys to walk across the stage in the big room and shake President Johnson’s hand,” Price said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Something Price is most proud of is that over the last two years 10 out of 11 sophomores on the team graduated. He believes that first and foremost he is a teacher.
One of Price’s teaching methods is that during a game he rarely calls time-outs. He finds that this helps the players learn to use critical thinking, problem solving and communication on the floor.
Price wants his players to keep their priorities straight. To do this he focuses on what he calls “The Three C’s:” classroom, community service and competition.
Part of the reason for Price’s focus on the classroom first is because he wants his players to understand that “Sinclair should be part of your journey, it shouldn’t be your destination.” He wants to see all his players to go on to complete their degrees at a four-year college, and they won’t be able to do that without good grades.
According to Price, even with such a heavy focus on academics rather than just athletics, Sinclair’s basketball team “is pretty well known around the region. We have a young man from Grand Rapids, MI that turned down more money in Michigan community colleges to come here, be a part of this program, and he was first team all-state.”
Coming into the new season Sinclair is tied for first in the Ohio Community College Athletics Conference (OCCAC) preseason poll. Cuyahoga Community College in Columbus is the other team sharing the top spot, and they will face off Nov. 18.
The next home game will be Saturday, Nov. 11, where the Tartans will host Wayne County Community College in building 8 Arena at 4 p.m.