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For those folks who have followed Kent State’s basketball team over the years, the tactic that coach Rob Senderoff has planned as a little extra motivation for the Golden Flashes in today’s game against rival Akron is nothing new that hasn’t been employed in various forms over the years at Kent State.
Coaching a young and relatively inexperienced squad that lost four starters from last season’s team, Senderoff has been perplexed by the fact that his squad has actually played better team-oriented basketball on the road than they have in the comfy confines of the M.A.C. Center.
While it’s a good trait to be a successful road team – especially in the Mid-American Conference - Senderoff knows his team needs to take better care of business consistently on their home court if they want to continue to grow.
So looking to shake up the trend a little, Senderoff and his staff decided Friday to not post his player’s individual points on the scoreboard for today’s 3 p.m. nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Senderoff explained why Friday after practice.
“We haven’t played well at home pretty much all year, so we are trying to do something to change them up,” he said. “We want to make sure our guys are focused only on how many points we have as a team and not on how many points they have individually. Some coaches have taken the names off of the back of the jerseys to try to get their players to play for the team and not themselves. We are going to try this.”
Taking the names off the back of player’s jerseys to prove no individual was bigger than the team was something former Flashes coach and now current Ohio coach Jim Christian once did. One year he even had players carry around a chain, symbolic of the fact that the team was only as strong as it’s weakest link.
Another tradition at KSU – as well as in many basketball programs across the country – is to not start upper classman for a game or two to send the message that they need to step up their team leadership.
Senderoff’s already has done this season, a ploy that’s been successfully used countless times by he and former coaches Christian, Geno Ford and even Gary Waters.
Additionally, what team doesn’t sport motivational T-shirts each season with slogans such as one years ago that read: “Trust the system”?
In fact, the only reason Saturday’s motivational tactic seems have to become an issue is because in order to not put up KSU’s individual points, Akron’s players’ points also can’t be posted.
But in a story in today’s Beacon Journal, Akron coach Keith Dambrot said he didn’t have an issue with playing the game with individual points lighting up the board.
“What’s the difference? It doesn’t make a difference to me,” Dambrot was quoted as saying.
It shouldn’t make a difference to anyone, save for the young Flashes players who will continue to learn the importance of playing together as the season progresses.