Ten game into the season, and it is still unclear what exactly Reinhardt’s men’s basketball team will look like this season.
The Eagles sit at 5-5, 3-2 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, and while they may still be looking for an identity, they at least know where they stand against good teams with game played against NAIA Division I teams Dalton State and Life and ranked Division II teams No. 2 Indiana University East and No. 11 Southeastern already behind them.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favors with how we scheduled this year,” coach Jason Gillespie said. “We went a challenging route. Some years you schedule games where you’re pretty comfortable getting a win. This year, we didn’t do that. We didn’t schedule one game out of conference like that. We’re a little frustrated with our record, but at least we’re tested.”
Reinhardt has gone just 1-3 in those games, but Gillespie said he believes the experience is already paying dividends.
Usually an offensive-minded team, Reinhardt has actually had more success on the defensive side this season, and if it can combine its usual high-powered offense with its suddenly stingy defense, it could make for a deeper run this season.
“Offensively, we’re a little bogged down right now,” Gillespie said. “We have to make some adjustments in what we’re doing. Defensively, we’ve had some good success. The whole goal is to make the other team uncomfortable in whatever you’re doing. We’ve done that better on the defensive side so far, which is atypical for us.”
Though the overall numbers may not be there yet, Reinhardt has once again had balance on the offensive side.
Dorea Wilson (16.8 points per game), Samuel Bunkley (16 points pre game) and Laroy Strong (11.6 points per game) are all averaging in double figures this season.
Michael Mays, who missed the first eight games with a concussion, has chipped in with 10.5 points per game over the last two, and Gillespie said getting everyone back to full health will go a long way toward improving the team’s offense.
“We would like to get a couple other guys in the mix,” he said. “Not having (Mays) in the mix has been tough for us. It’s made us have to adjust, but it’s something that happens to pretty much every team in the country.”
Bunkley, Wilson and Strong are three of the team’s seven seniors, and all three can play on the wing or in the post, which is a microcosm of what Gillespie would like to see from his whole team.
The Eagles have just three players taller than 6-foot-5, but to have success, Gillespie said his team has to take advantage of its versatility at all positions.
“We’re as athletic as we’ve been here,” he said. “We don’t have a ton of size, but I think we have guys who play bigger than they are. I like our versatility. That’s definitely our strength.”