GOSHEN — New Goshen College men’s head basketball coach Neal Young likes what he sees so far from his team.
The 2013-14 season is young — just two games in — and the Maple Leafs are 1-1. Last weekend, Goshen stunned NAIA Div. II No. 17 Madonna University 80-62 on day two of the Indiana Hospitality Hoopfest.
It was Goshen’s first win against a Top 25 team since January 31, 2012 when they knocked off No. 24 Marian.
For Young, the win was gratifying, and not just because it was his first as a college coach.
Mainly because it came less than 24 hours after a disappointing loss to Lourdes.
“We were pretty consistent for 40 minutes and you can’t ask much more than that from guys, especially bouncing back after a tough loss,” Young said.
Consistency is something the first-year coach will ask of his young team all season and one of several keys to success.
”We want to play hard and fast,” Young said after a practice session earlier this week.
Defensively, the Maple Leafs will play primarily zone, Young said. “We want to be the team in our conference that other teams have to adjust to.”
An overall goal for the Maple Leafs is to eventually make it to Branson, Mo., site of the NAIA national tournament.
But that doesn’t just happen, Young said.
”We have talked a ton about laying the foundation and the only way to do that is brick by brick, every day, trusting the process, doing the little things everyday and eventually those little things add up,” Young said.
The pieces of the Goshen College puzzle in 2013-14 include five seniors, three full time returning starters, and four freshmen who will immediately get their chance to make an impact.
One of the team leaders is senior wing Jerron Jamerson. In his first season after transferring from Owens Community College, Jamerson was named to the Crossroads League’s All-Newcomer Team, averaging 16.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2013-14. He led the Maple Leafs in scoring in 14 games, reaching double digits in 22 of 29 contests.