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April 11, 2024

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Men’s Basketball team embraces new attitude, playing style

There is a different feel surrounding the Bowling Green men’s basketball team this year.

A new coaching staff, and five new players were introduced but the different feeling is due to their new found intensity and tempo. 

All of it starts and ends with new head coach Chris Jans’ personality. 

“Coach Jans is more in your face,” said senior Richaun Holmes. “Everything he does is intense and I think as a team we are starting to match his personality. That’s going to make for more wins on the floor.”

Jans’ intensity is different from what Holmes called a “laid back,” personality from previous coach Louis Orr. 

“He has more of a getting better right now type of mindset,” senior Jehvon Clarke said. “Nothing against coach Orr, he is a great guy and I think he is a great coach as well. I just think coach Jans set that tone early that was the difference.”

That tone was set in the first meeting Jans had with the returning players. 

“He brought us in and was like, ‘are you guys willing to win, are you guys willing to do what it takes to win,’” Clarke said. “From that day and the first day of practice he was at us, he worked us extremely hard. That’s one thing that we did, we bought in to that and it’s been working ever since.

As the team continues to adjust to Jans’ personality and coaching staff they will have to simultaneously adjust to the up-tempo play style he is installing. 

That tempo focuses on defensive pressure and getting the ball up the court faster than they have in the past few years. 

“It’s [new tempo] going to take our game to the next level,” Clarke said. “His style of play, system and his culture he is trying to bring in is a genius idea in my opinion.” 

Senior Anthony Henderson said the style fits this group of guys well but they still need to prepare. 

“We have to be in better shape than we have been in before in order to succeed,” he said.

The Falcons will benefit in that offense from the addition of the five new players Jans added to the roster. He added three junior college transfers and two freshmen. Add that to the 11 players who were already returning and that makes for 16 players fighting for playing time. 

Despite the return of players like Clarke and Holmes, Jans has made it clear that every player is being looked at the same when it comes to playing time.

“I don’t really care if I offend them,” Jans said. “We look at them all the same, we are giving them all a fresh start. I tell them all ‘anything you’ve done is irrelevant to me. You are going to have to earn it.’ If they are good enough to be on the floor they will be.” 

The addition of the five players brings in just what Jans wants, competition at positions across the roster. That competition has led to him changing his mind on the starting five already, but he hopes it changes again before the season begins.

“At this point you want to have decisions to make, you don’t want it to be cut and dry,” Jans said. “Who I think would start today is not who I thought would start on day one.”

The position battle that is interesting the most to Jans is the competition between the guards. The addition of junior college transfers Jovan Austin and David “Pep” Joseph along with returners Clarke, Henderson and Zack Denny, are keeping the players focused on getting better. 

“It pushes us each day. We have to bring something different and we have to add another dimension to our game,” Clarke said. 

Although the competition is tight the players aren’t focused on being better than the other person every day. 

“We are just trying to make each other better,” Austin said. “It’s not really ‘I want to do better than him today.” It’s just go hard as you can and try to get him better and I know he is doing the same for me.” 

This Falcon team is adapting to a whole new culture in their program but they have their goals set high. 

New transfer Delvin Dickerson believes this team can win the MAC and go to the NCAA Tournament. 

Senior guard Anthony Henderson is expecting “nothing less than a MAC Championship.” 

“We play so hard in practice and we have that attitude that nothing can stop us,” Henderson added. “I feel like there is no team that can deal with us this year.”

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