31 Oct 1974
Senators Older, Quicker Tuesday night Lander Coach Finis Home put his Senators on display for the fans to see what's coming up this season on the local college level. He liked a lot of things he saw, but also saw a few things that needed more work. One of the things he saw that he liked with the depth they'll have this year, something the Senators have lacked in the past. "The greatest thing will be the depth we have," he said, "I don't think you can question that because we have some pretty good players. "We've got the oldest group we've ever had. We're not dealing with freshmen 17 or 18 years old. We've tried to put responsibility on them as a player and as a group and I think they've responded very well." - The thing he saw that needed more work was defense. "We've got a lot of work to do there," he went on, "when we quit making some of the mistakes we made tonight (Tuesday) we'll be a pretty solid ball club. "Our philosophy will be run with the ball and put it in the air. I feel the thing we need to do is play . loose, free and not be afraid to shoot it." tt Senior co-captain co-captain co-captain Gabby Smith agreed with Home on certain points at this stage of the year. "I think we've got a little work to do but I tell you, we've got some ball players that can put it in the hole," Smith said. The 5-11 5-11 5-11 senior said he feels this year's team, as a unit, is the best here since he's been at Lander, saying that because of the attitudes. attitudes. "I know I've said that before," he added, "I said that when I was a sophomore but we've got a bunch of boys who've got one thing in common and we're close. We're a lot closer than we were when I was a sophomore. "We have some junior college players who are more mature and I think Coach Home has made a big difference in the approach he has taken this year. "We all sat down for something like 12 to 14 hours and went over what we were going to do this year. We talked about a little bit of everything. It was good for us to r get together and if helped us out a ' lot." Concerning the NAIA District 6 play, Home and Smith differ in their ideas a little but not by much. . Smith says "with the calibre of ball palyers we've got and the togetherness, we'll be one of the top four teams in the district." "We don't have eight or nine ball players, we've got 14," Smith added. added. "We've got 14 good ball players, and we played with poise out there tonight. We executed well. Sure, we had some bad spots but we came back." Home is optimistic about the season but he wouldn't come right out and declare his position on how he thought the Senators would finish.- finish.- "I know we're going to be a better ball club," said Home. "I know we're going to be able to score, there's no question about that. "I can't say how we'll finish because I don't know anything about everybody else. Newberry has got everybody back. Charleston has basically everybody back and they recruited about 10 players. They'll be extremely extremely strong. "Wofford got all three of their top players back and I think they got one of the top junior college players in the Western Carolina district when they got Feemster. South Qarolina had a good recruiting year, and Asheville and Mars Hill are always tough." By no means 'counting himself out before the season even starts, Home added, "I feel we might have the potential to where we can challenge for a playoff position. If we can put it together and keep it there, I think we'll have to be considered. considered. "There's a lot of fine teams in the district and I feel we've got some exciting players to watch and they all enjoy playing." Some of those players were ' pointed out by Smith after the in-trasquad in-trasquad in-trasquad game Tuesday. "Not taking anything away from anybody, I think Rhodes Odis Rhodes of Easley), Drake (Joe Drake from Alabama), and James King (of Alabama) will help us a lot up front. And Rickey Henderson Henderson (of Greenwood) played good tonight. "The biggest surprise to me was the play of Mitchell Lewis (of Ware Shoals), Burley Moss (of Cowpens) and Glenn Franklin (of Alabama). Those guys really played and that Franklin was something else." Sharing the co-captain co-captain co-captain honor with King, Smith said he feels the Senators' front wall will be better this year. "We're just strong underneath," he went on, "we don't have height but we have more determination, a lot better jumpers and a little more quickness in the forwards." Prior, to the game, Home told me his center position will be handled mainly by Shaft McMinns of Lake Placid, Fla. Now, that's alright except for one thing. He stands only 6-1 6-1 6-1 and that seems a little short for a center. However, my opinion of that changed quickly when I watched him jump, shuffle those arms around, and move under the boards. He can play. Home, who should know, said there are a lot of exciting days ahead and I believe him.