Ben Jackson image

Courtesy of Kent State University; Photo by Ben Jackson

By Klint Pleasant
Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Direction

On Monday, Nov. 7, the Rochester College men’s basketball team traveled to Ohio for a game against Kent State University, a successful, NCAA Division 1 program. Kent State has an impressive basketball history, a huge arena and a million-dollar budget with a full scholarship for every player.

Kent State is one of the most successful NCAA Division 1 teams in the past 10 seasons, winning at least 20 games a year for the past decade. A unanimous choice to win the MAC Conference this year, Kent State has a few players who will undoubtedly play professional basketball in the future. When you compare Kent State to Rochester College, you can tell we don’t quite have the same resources.

With Kent University’s starters measuring 6′ 11”, 6′ 9”, 6′ 5”, 6′ 3” and 6′ 2”, nobody picked RC to win this game, but then again, there’s nothing in the rulebook that said we couldn’t. It was a hard fought game, going back and forth for much of the first half.

Finally, Kent took an 11-point lead into the locker room at half time. Kent came out the second half and went up by as many as 25 points, but the Warriors did not quit.  We continued to fight and actually battled back, making it a close game with five minutes to go. The Warriors lost 76-63—not bad, considering the game resembled “David vs. Goliath.”

But maybe the most impressive thing about the game was the way the team  represented RC off the floor. A fan and a security guard approached me after the game and mentioned how impressed they were and how much it meant to them to see the Warriors serving one another water instead of yelling at the visiting trainer to get it for them. Both said, “We don’t ever see that.” They also recognized the fact that I was willing to get on my hands and knees (while in a suit) during the game to wipe up water instead of waiting for the trainer to walk all the way over from the home team’s bench to do it.

Lastly, the athletic director emeritus at Kent State mentioned to me how impressed he was with the fact that after our players shook hands with the opposing team, they stayed and cleaned up their own bench. A cleaning crew would have come to tidy the area, but as a team, the Warriors cleaned up after themselves. They threw away cups, wiped up water, straightened the chairs, threw away tape and stacked up dirty towels.

According to the scoreboard, we lost the game—though when you consider the difference in resources between the two schools, our team did exceptionally well. However, we did accomplish what we set out to do in every game, and that is to represent Rochester College well.  Maybe when you look at it from a holistic perspective, we actually won!

For a recap of the game, go to http://www.kentstatesports.com/sports/mbkb/2011-12/releases/201111076fwjik