When coach Charlie Brock sat down with Jim Mack this past summer, he knew his dedication and pure winning attitude would benefit the Springfield College men’s basketball team immensely. Mack is a born winner and has the level of determination to help this year’s team succeed, even with an overhaul in their offensive system.
Coach Mack hails from Sabis International Charter School, where he coached the Bulldogs to a 93-22 record over his career. He also once played under Brock, so the chemistry between the two coaches has already been established. With a new offense being implemented, that bond is crucial for the men’s basketball team’s success.
“Coach and I sat down during the summer and wanted to switch things up,” Mack said. “We went to a four-out-one-in, and coach has done a great job of teaching the guys in adapting to what personnel and offense fits them well. It will allow Alex (Berthiaume) and Jordan (Rote) to get some space. Nick (Sienkiewicz) and Josh (Altman) will also be able to knock down shots.”
Jumping from high school to the college ranks is a major transition regarding talent and dedication. However, given his winning mentality, Mack was ready for a change in his life. Mack was looking for more.
“I played for coach Brock years ago,” Mack said. “We had talked about coming back, and I felt it was the right time in my life to push myself and try out the college ranks. High school was great, but I really wanted to continue and push myself.”
After a successful 17-10 campaign last season, the expectations have only risen. The fierce Brock, who is seen causing scuff marks on the ground below his chair, has a clear vision for this year’s team, and focus will be key.
“We had some good things happen last year. We did get to the conference championship; that’s always a goal,” Brock said. “We want to take that a step further. The complexion of this team is quite different in the graduation of two post players.”
For Brock and this year’s seniors, there are particular areas where the team failed to capitalize on last year. Distractions are something Brock is hoping this year’s team can avoid.
“I think we let three games slip away from us last year just on sheer not-readiness to compete and get after it, and I hope we can eliminate that,” Brock said firmly. “Sometimes bad things happen, and we had some distractions in a couple of games that we weren’t able to overcome with kids not being able to play for one reason or another. The big goal for me is to eliminate those games that we should be able to take care of. We want to get to the conference championship and win it and get to the NCAA tournament. We have a bunch of seniors, and that’s their goal.”
Despite the change in offense, senior George Adams is still confident the team will succeed and is excited for the season to start this Friday.
“The addition of Coach Mack and the new offense will have a big impact on the season,” Adams said. “The motion-style offense really gets everyone on the court involved. Also, what’s great is that there are so many different variations and small sets that can be run out of it. The NEWMAC is a tough conference, due to the fact that you can’t treat any game as an easy win. My expectations for this season are for us to be right back in that NEWMAC championship game.”
The men’s team will open up the season in Bridgewater, Mass. against Becker College on Nov. 16.