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Almanson stepping up in last year

After last year’s leading scorer, Ron Lewis, decided to bolt the Bowling Green men’s basketball team for Ohio State it was unclear who would fill his shoes–until senior forward Josh Almanson decided to try them on for a change.

Turns out they fit him just right.

Almanson spent most of his first three seasons as a reserve for the Falcons, averaging a career best 8.0 points per game last season, but was given the opportunity to start his senior year and has made the most of his increased playing time. Almanson not only leads his team in scoring and field goal percentage this season, but also leads the entire MAC in both categories. He is averaging 18.5 points, while shooting 61 percent from the field.

“I’ve been able to make some strong contributions that have helped us win,” Almanson said.

Earlier this season, Almanson received MAC-West Player of the Week honors and has twice been awarded MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week with a 3.14 GPA in Integrated Social Studies. He credits his teammates for his improved production and said the team plays better together this season with a greater desire to win.

“I think last year it was evident that we didn’t play well as a team together,” Almanson said. “Guys were in it for themselves at times. This year everybody has a real strong commitment to each other and winning.”

The improved team chemistry has allowed Almanson to step up his game.

“I’m definitely shooting the ball more,” Almanson said. “I’m getting good screens from my teammates and they’re getting me the ball.”

Almanson’s defensive game has been just as impressive this season as he’s been able to expand on his repertoire of skills. He leads the team in both rebounds (5.1 rpg) and blocks (12). During Tuesday’s loss at Ball State, Almanson recorded his first ever double-double with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

“His overall game has improved leaps and bounds,” BG head coach Dan Dakich said. “He’s a far different player than he was when he got here. He went from a guy that was really the sixth or seventh guy to the number one option.”

But Almanson’s tenure here at BG hasn’t always been this smooth. He was limited to just six games during his sophomore season after undergoing surgery on his ankle to repair a stress fracture. The injury, which cost him the remainder of the 2002-2003 campaign, allowed him to red shirt that season and play a fifth year. Dakich said the injury has helped Almanson become even more successful.

“In retrospect his injury, if he can remain healthy, is a blessing in disguise,” Dakich said. “Anytime you have an opportunity to be a fifth year player, generally if you’re successful in you’re fifth year it’s going to make you a better basketball player.”

Without that injury, there’d be no Josh Almanson this season. Dakich said he wishes he could keep Almanson on his team even longer.

“I don’t like the fact that he’s done playing here after this year,” he said.

The fact that Almanson has not just become a well-rounded athlete but a well-rounded person is why Dakich doesn’t want to let him go.

“You can’t find a better representative in all areas, not only Bowling Green the school but Bowling Green the town and college athletics in general,” Dakich said. “I don’t think in the entire country there’s a better example of what’s good about college sports than Josh Almanson.”

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