The Sinclair men’s basketball team finished the 2017-18 season 17-15 (6-10) and a loss in the NJCAA District 11 semi-finals to #2 seed Owens Community College.
“It’s always mixed emotions when you get to the end of the season,” head coach Jeff Price said. “You know you put a lot of work in, the guys put a lot of work in, and it’s sometimes hard because we start pretty much the first day of classes and it always comes to an end.”
The Tartan Pride were led in large part by OCCAC and NJCAA District 11 Player of the Year runner up LiDonta Hicks-Gentry. The 6’7” sophomore forward from Fort Wayne, IN. averaged a double-double over the season, with 17.0 ppg and 10.1 rpg. He recorded 18 double-doubles over the season.
Hick-Gentry’s play also earned him NJCAA District 11 and Region XII 1st Team honors, OCCAC All-Defensive Team honors, three OCCAC Player of the Week awards and NJCAA National Player of the Week.
“[The impact is] a two-fold, we have to replace someone who averaged a double-double,” Price said. “The other side is it will open up new opportunities for the guys that are returning and our new recruits.”
The Pride are planning on returning six players for next year, including freshmen guards Isaiah Trice and Quantes Jackson. Trice and Jackson were both awarded All-OCCAC Honorable Mention, and Jackson also made the OCCAC All-Freshman Team. They also are only the fourth set of teammates to have made 50 three-point shots in a single season and made were each the OCCAC Player of the Week once.
With so many players returning next season, there will be high contrast to this season where the team only had two sophomores. According to Coach Price, this may have been a factor in their early postseason exit, despite playing some of their best basketball at the end of the season.
“We were really young, and at critical times we made really young mistakes,” Price said. “But the best thing about a freshman – they become sophomores.”
The offseason has already started, and the team has eight hours per week to get time together, whether it be practicing certain techniques, conditioning or lifting weights. As long as players are registered for classes in the summer semester, they can continue with those eight hours per week.
“[This is when we work on] whatever we found throughout the year that was deficient,” Price said. “You can’t fix it during the year because you’re just preparing for the next game. You have two days to prepare for each game.”
The Pride will pick back up where they left off in November, when the 2018 season begins.