#thetimeisnow

A slam dunk start for the men’s basketball team Starting off 2-1, the team looks promising

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Photo C/O Kyle West

By: Jovan Popovic

The 2019-2020 McMaster men’s basketball team kicked off their season on Oct. 25, with a heartbreaking two-point loss against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves. Following this loss, they won their next two games, against Lakehead and the Brock University Badgers, bringing the team to a record of two wins and one loss.

This season, the team looks to break the playoff barrier and achieve their first winning record since the 2015-2016 season. With how strong the team looks this year, this goal appears promising. 

This season, the team looks to break the playoff barrier and achieve their first winning record since the 2015-2016 season. With how strong the team looks this year, this goal appears promising. 

Other than starting the season at two wins and one loss, the team has shown flashes of their potential in order ways, demonstrating how dominant of a team they can be at their best. Notable performances from players, such as second year guards Jordan Henry and Sefa Otchere along with fifth year forward Connor Gilmore, have propelled this team into a potentially great season. 

Right off the bat, Henry jumped into the season as one of the top statistical performers on the team, having a hot first game, and improving in every game thereafter. On the court, he has maintained a field goal percentage of 47.2 per cent, while averaging 23.3 points per game. In the team’s second game of the season, Henry led the team in points, assists, rebounds and steals. These stats are all quite remarkable as Henry is only in his second year.

Otchere is the other second year guard who managed to start the season with an impressive 33 points, while leading the team with four three pointers in their first game. 

Gilmore could be one of the key players down the stretch. He has a reputation as a “glass cleaner”, grabbing rebounds left and right, through a playstyle similar to former Toronto Raptors player, Jonas Valančiūnas. In each of the last two seasons, Gilmore averaged over eight rebounds per game. This season he’s continuing this trend with a strong presence in the paint. As the team’s leading rebounder last year, a big year from him could be critical down the stretch and could lead to a perfect send off, being that it is Gilmore’s fifth and final year with the team. 

When asked about his goals for the team this upcoming season, Gilmore offered an optimistic and ambitious response.

“I hope to get to nationals this season,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore believes in a more team-oriented approach to basketball, choosing not to focus on individual accolades.

“I’ve learned over time that if you care about things like that, your team won’t be successful. I’m worried about our overall success, and whatever comes after that is just the cherry on top,” Gilmore added.

“I’ve learned over time that if you care about things like that, your team won’t be successful. I’m worried about our overall success, and whatever comes after that is just the cherry on top,” Gilmore added.

The fifth year veteran was also asked about the most significant change for the team during his time. 

“The most positive dramatic change would have to be the hiring of coach Tatham and the positive effect he has had changing the culture of our program. He was given a tough hand to start with, but he has done an excellent job thus far and will continue to do so,” Gilmore denoted.

Coach Patrick Tatham is entering his third year as the Marauders’ head coach. Before taking on the role, Tatham was an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws of the G-League, which is the developmental league of the National Basketball Association. Throughout the season, it will be interesting to watch how coach Tatham adjusts his gameplan from game to game given his professional experience.  

Despite winning their second game of the season against Lakehead, their field goal percentage was only 35.8 per cent, with a three-point percentage of 27.2 per cent. Also, there were only seven assists made in the game. Ball movement and smart shots will be key for the team going forward. This will arguably be one of the most important things to watch for this season, as the team looks to build on the 2018-2019 season, in which they made the OUA quarter finals. 

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