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Men’s Basketball Team Off to Strong Start

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Written by: Communicator StaffDecember 14, 2017

By: Emily Anderson

Although there are many freshman on the team this year, with career high scores being achieved and an increasingly improving defense, the Fort Wayne men’s basketball team is off to a strong start. The team began their season on Nov. 10 and currently stands at six wins and three losses.

“I think this team is above where we’ve been at this time of year the last three years defensively, and I think we have room to grow,” said Jon Coffman, head coach of the Fort Wayne men’s basketball team.

Upperclassmen have been focusing on new leadership roles since the team has six freshmen. The team has been zeroing in on aggressive attacks to get to the free-throw line more in order to improve offense.

Coffman said that the schedule this season includes many teams that have won their leagues, so he said he is expecting to face many more challenges this year, but the team is taking the season one game at a time.

“The next game is always the most important game on our schedule,” Coffman said.

Coffman said he could go down the line and mention why each player has stood out to him. A few seemed to stand out from the crowd, however.

Bryson Scott, a senior from Fort Wayne, has increased his scoring, his rebounding and assists are up from last year.

John Konchar, a junior from Chicago, has increased his aggressiveness and is on every NBA radar out there, according to Coffman. Coffman said that every goal he sets for Konchar is reached.

Coffman also said Xzavier Taylor, a senior from Chicago, has really grown as a leader of the program and has brought consistent, positive energy to the group.

Kason Harrell, a junior from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, is one of their most reliable defenders, which Coffman said is a vast improvement from his freshman year.

“Individually, I feel like my role is growing a little bit, and I feel like I’m doing a good job embracing it,” Harrell said.

Harrell has invested a lot into this season: his time, his passion, and even his tooth. During the game against Kentucky on Nov. 22, Harrell took an elbow to the face and had his tooth knocked out. He was brought to the sideline to clean the blood off, but he got right back into the game and finished playing. He got the tooth fixed Nov. 29.

Harrell said he is excited to see what the team can accomplish and is looking forward to seeing just how much better the players can get this season.

Although the Mastodons lost the Kentucky game 86-67, a crowd of nearly 21,000 watched as Konchar scored 19 points and ended up just three short of a career total of 1,000. Scott and Harrell, scored 18 and 12 points, respectively.

“I’m really pleased with where the group is. I’m not really outcome driven, I’m more process driven. Obviously we get graded out on results, but we never really talk much about results,” Coffman said. “We talk about individual plays and trying to win every possession, and that’s been the best mindset that has led into the best results at the end of the day.”

The Mastodons suffered another loss on Nov. 25 against East Tennessee State University, losing 83-73. Konchar achieved the 1,000th point of his college career. Scott finished the ETSU game with 24 points, while Konchar had 18 and Harrell scored 15.

Luck turned around for the Mastodons at their game against Detroit Mercy on Nov. 28, where the Dons won 91-82.This success continued at the game against Indiana University Kokomo on Nov. 30 with a final score 99-63.