Matt Galvao ’17, Staff Writer
The Merrimack men’s basketball team started off the season with an impressive 4-0 record, including a couple of wins against conference rivals. Since this terrific start, the team has only managed to record four victories in the last two months dropping their overall record to 8-12 and 6-9 in conference (Northeast-10) play.
The team has had trouble playing consistently throughout the season and finishing games has also been an issue. Coach Bert Hammel feels that coaching and play on both sides of the ball have ultimately led to the team’s poor performance on the court.
“Coaching could be one. We’ve been very inconsistent as a team. Defensively we don’t seem to focus in on every possession. In this league if you give teams a break they’re going to score,” Hammel explained.
The Warriors have a total of nine underclassmen on their roster and Hammel feels that some of the inconsistency could come from the lack of experience and maturity.
“It’s tough when you’re dealing with sophomores. Kevin [Regan] is our only senior and has taken the team on his shoulders. We’re young and he’s surrounded by babies,” said Hammel.
Regan admitted that being the only senior is somewhat difficult at times knowing the team is very young.
“It’s tough sometimes,” he said. “Yeah they are young, you can talk to some guys and they take it well and others you kind of have to pull them aside and say ‘it’s not about me.’ It’s about the team.
“We have to come together and get some w’s at the end of the season.”
Regan noted that getting the defensive inconsistencies out of their game will have to come through practice first and then be brought into game situations.
“We’ve talked about it a few times as a team. We’ve been focusing on just concentrating on what goes on in practice and just covert it into the game. You’ve got to practice how you play,” Regan said.
Now that the calendar has flipped to February, every game carries increased meaning. With a 6-9 conference record it will be important for Merrimack to try and take as many wins as possible in the last month of play to try and secure a playoff spot.
“It’s very important,” Hammel explained. “What you don’t want to do is come down to that last week and hope somebody beats somebody else so that we can get in. We have to mentally focus in on what we can control. We control our own destiny.”
Entering February the Warriors have seven games remaining, all of which are NE-10 opponents. It will be a pivotal month for the Warriors as they try and aim for a playoff spot in the NE-10 conference tournament.
Hammel Approaching Milestone
Sitting on 494 career victories*, coach Bert Hammel is approaching a milestone plateau. Take a closer look at some of the numbers behind Hammel’s coaching career.
By The Numbers:
34 – number of years Hammel has coached at Merrimack College.
.519 – Hammel’s career winning percentage.
15 – 494 victories ranks Hammel 15th all-time for Division II basketball coaches.
6 – Hammel’s teams have made the NCAA tournament six times, most recently in 2010.
956 – Number of games Hammel has coached in overall.
* as of press deadline Wednesday night.