The good, the bad, the ugly

John
John Browne
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MUN MEN'S BASKETBALL Peter Benoite talks about the ups and downs of his first season as Sea-Hawks' head coach

Memorial Sea-Hawks rookie men's basketball coach Peter Benoite, though disappointed in his team's failure to make the playoffs, prefers to take a long-range view of things.

"Losing is always tough," said Benoite, "but I guess as a coach, I see the big picture more. We are developing for the future, and its part of the process. Sometimes as a player, you get caught up in the now, and it is hard to think about the future.

Peter Benoite - Telegram file photo

Memorial Sea-Hawks rookie men's basketball coach Peter Benoite, though disappointed in his team's failure to make the playoffs, prefers to take a long-range view of things.

"Losing is always tough," said Benoite, "but I guess as a coach, I see the big picture more. We are developing for the future, and its part of the process. Sometimes as a player, you get caught up in the now, and it is hard to think about the future.

"I'm most disappointed," he said, "in that we don't get a chance to give all our young guys some playoff experience early, but as they say, you have to crawl before you can run."

Memorial (3-15) finishes up the Atlantic universities season this weekend at the Field House against Cape Breton Capers. The teams played Friday night and will meet again eight o'clock tonight.

Benoite, a former Sea-Hawk star, said there were a combination of factors why the team fell short of making the post season.

The biggest problem, as Benoite sees it, is that no matter what sort of talent you have on any given roster, unless the players are fit enough to handle the 20-game AUS season, the team is at a distinct disadvantage.

"Lack of experience and lack of training," is a concern, Benoite noted.

"Most teams we played had veteran guys that have been in this league for a while, and know what it takes to play well day in and day out. It's a tough league. There are no easy games, and you have to be ready to play every game.

"The year gets especially tough the second half when you are playing every weekend, and don't get a chance to get a break. Keep in mind that you are probably up late most nights trying to get school work done, so it becomes a very tiring semester," Benoite said.

"If you haven't done the work in the off-season, then it's very easy for your body to break down. You see that with some of our guys, for sure.

Benoite, the fittest MUN player in the team's history, was to the point concerning specific players in terms of conditioning.

"(Mark) Woodland struggled the second half, (Jason) Shepherd was starting to break down physically and Robbie (Habib) was inconsistent," the coach said.

"Also, we missed a lot of easy baskets this year and that prevented us from taking control of games or from staying in games. That shows a lack of core conditioning and an inability to absorb contact and make the shot. Again, without a strength base, those things happen," said Benoite.

In assessing his job and the job of his assistants, Benoite said, "I think we did a good job of developing a work ethic that will pay dividends in the future.

"We certainly forced teams to take notice of us and proved that you have to come prepared to play us. We played hard and never gave up.

"I was also very pleased that we were getting good fan support, which is a big step for the program. It was good to see a lot of people back supporting the team and I believe people really appreciated the way we played and the work ethic we presented on the floor. I thought we brought a pretty good brand of basketball that people can enjoy watching, and I believe it will be even better next year," he said.

"Obviously, there is lots of room for improvement, and I learned a great deal myself this year. The two close losses to UPEI were tough personally as I believe I could have done a couple of things differently to help us win those games, but that's part of the process as well."

In summing up his first season with Sea-Hawks, Benoite said, "The games were not tougher than I expected, but the amount of time I had to put in was a lot more than I anticipated.

"I'm hoping that all the work we've done this year will make things run that much easier next year. That's no different then taking over any new job, I guess."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Field House

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