Benoite's patience waning

John
John Browne
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'This is not going to be a fun week of practice,' promises coach of 1-9 Sea-Hawks

Memorial Sea-Hawks men's basketball coach Peter Benoite has taken his gloves off ... and things could get messy.

Benoite is well known for his patience, but it seems like that reservoir is close to being drained. The passionate MUN mentor says his players need a change of attitude, and soon, if they want to continue wearing the red and white.

Memorial Sea-Hawks mens basketball coach Peter Benoite (centre rear) speaks to his players before a practice at the MUN gym Tuesday evening. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Memorial Sea-Hawks men's basketball coach Peter Benoite has taken his gloves off ... and things could get messy.

Benoite is well known for his patience, but it seems like that reservoir is close to being drained. The passionate MUN mentor says his players need a change of attitude, and soon, if they want to continue wearing the red and white.

Calling last weekend's double loss to UPEI Panthers "a big disappointment," Benoite was blunt in his assessment of a team which is floundering at 1-9 halfway through the Atlantic Universities Sport (AUS) season.

"I'm just wondering if we've got anybody willing to step up when things are on the line," said Benoite.

"It seems like when the cards are dealt and the pot gets bigger, we would sooner fold than stay in the hand. Either our attitude needs to change or the players need to change.

"I need guys who want the pressure of big games and not hide away when the game gets tough. Basically, I need winners ... not guys willing to accept losing. And right now, I'm not sure how many of those guys I have."

Benoite says it's time to sort out the athletes who really want to play from those who just want to show up.

"This is not going to be a fun week of practice," promised Benoite, "because I'll be calling the bluff of the guys who don't really care. I'm not interested in guys who roll over when things get tough."

Benoite held an unprecedented closed practice Tuesday night, although he did allow Telegram photographer Gary Hebbard and this reporter brief pre-practice access to the players.

The Panthers rang up 195 points on MUN in the two games in Charlottetown, but it wasn't the lopsided losinf scorelines ( 91-70 on Saturday and 104-61 Sunday) that upset Benoite the most.

"It's not so much that we lost both games, but more the way we lost them," said Benoite.

"On Sunday, it seemed like we just rolled over and stopped competing, and that's a very troubling sign. I haven't seen us do that since I took over," said the second-year MUN head coach and former Sea-Hawks' standout.

"And its not a matter of us not showing up to play. We started well both games again. But it seems like when the pressure of the game gets turned up, we are either incapable of matching it or we are afraid to match it."

The Sea-Hawks take on the Dalhousie Tigers (5-5) at 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Field House. The Tigers beat MUN 83-62 and 96-81 in Halifax in November.

"We've got a lot to do to change our attitude before we play Dal," said Benoite. "That's a team that we played very tough before Christmas ... (we) have the ability to beat them. They haven't been playing that great lately."

The Tigers have the conference's leading scorer in Simon Farine (22.2 ppg.). MUN's top scorer is Jason Shepherd at 14.6 ppg.

"Normally, I would say we have a great shot to beat them if we play well. But, to be honest," Benoite said, "I'm not really sure where we are now or where our heart is because I didn't see any heart this past weekend, with the exception of Shepherd.

"Steve Earles shows heart, but when you only get one offensive rebound in 63 minutes of play, you must not want the ball bad enough," added the obviously frustrated and perplexed coach.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Atlantic Universities Sport, Dalhousie Tigers Panthers Field House

Geographic location: MUN, Charlottetown, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Len
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I do agree with Doug on some of his comments however, MUN coaches do not need to go outside of our Province to gain hard working players, we have lots of them here on the Island...stop being so anti-NL! Personally, I think they will have LOTS of talent and hard working players who want to play ball and are very passive about it coming from high shcool next year. The talent that will be coming from next season will be the best yet. I have to say, I hate to place blame, but did anyone ever look at our NLBA and see what they have to offer our players? Absolutely nothing, they are not there to promote their own. The only way our players will ever get better is to play againt better and bigger players. It costs a fortune for our players to make a Provincial team, then when they are up against the bigger guys they don't have a chance. We need more off road trips without the added expense in order to make our players in this province more expereienced and better.

    Stop choosing teams for who their parents are or who knows who and give the best players a chance! That is our biggest problem on this Island of ours, the best players are never chosen.

  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Benoite says it's time to sort out the athletes who really want to play from those who just want to show up.

    To me, this line says it all about the current MUN team. There are too many players who are extremely arrogant going around with this holier-than-thou attitude because they happen to be on the MUN team. Never mind that they have been among the worst teams in the country for the last three or four years.

    Aside from that, other than Shepherd and potentially Samodal on the rare occasion that he plays, this team has very few AUS level players right now. Earles might be if he gets his head back in the game and stops listening to everyone telling him how great he is and Helsby has a chance with time as well. However, MUN can never hope to compete with the better teams if they have lead-footed guards matching up with guys like Christian Upshaw at St. Francis Xavier, Simon Farine at Dal, or Joey Haywood at SMU. Undersized guards (or former guards in this case) like Manny Wilby or Justin Penney are not the answer either.

    When it comes to recruiting, MUN coaches are always coveting a big post player. You always need some solid big forwards but more and more the AUS is becoming a big guard oriented league. Perenniel power Cape Breton's biggest productive player is 6'6 . If they can get a recruiting budget, they should start scouting Scarborough, Mississauga, or the east side of Toronto that are teeming with big, quick guards who can play both ways and might be willing to come east. There's no help coming from the provincial high school scene any time soon.

  • Len
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I do agree with Doug on some of his comments however, MUN coaches do not need to go outside of our Province to gain hard working players, we have lots of them here on the Island...stop being so anti-NL! Personally, I think they will have LOTS of talent and hard working players who want to play ball and are very passive about it coming from high shcool next year. The talent that will be coming from next season will be the best yet. I have to say, I hate to place blame, but did anyone ever look at our NLBA and see what they have to offer our players? Absolutely nothing, they are not there to promote their own. The only way our players will ever get better is to play againt better and bigger players. It costs a fortune for our players to make a Provincial team, then when they are up against the bigger guys they don't have a chance. We need more off road trips without the added expense in order to make our players in this province more expereienced and better.

    Stop choosing teams for who their parents are or who knows who and give the best players a chance! That is our biggest problem on this Island of ours, the best players are never chosen.

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Benoite says it's time to sort out the athletes who really want to play from those who just want to show up.

    To me, this line says it all about the current MUN team. There are too many players who are extremely arrogant going around with this holier-than-thou attitude because they happen to be on the MUN team. Never mind that they have been among the worst teams in the country for the last three or four years.

    Aside from that, other than Shepherd and potentially Samodal on the rare occasion that he plays, this team has very few AUS level players right now. Earles might be if he gets his head back in the game and stops listening to everyone telling him how great he is and Helsby has a chance with time as well. However, MUN can never hope to compete with the better teams if they have lead-footed guards matching up with guys like Christian Upshaw at St. Francis Xavier, Simon Farine at Dal, or Joey Haywood at SMU. Undersized guards (or former guards in this case) like Manny Wilby or Justin Penney are not the answer either.

    When it comes to recruiting, MUN coaches are always coveting a big post player. You always need some solid big forwards but more and more the AUS is becoming a big guard oriented league. Perenniel power Cape Breton's biggest productive player is 6'6 . If they can get a recruiting budget, they should start scouting Scarborough, Mississauga, or the east side of Toronto that are teeming with big, quick guards who can play both ways and might be willing to come east. There's no help coming from the provincial high school scene any time soon.