Tommy Dempsey’s rotation might seem a little backwards this season to a casual college basketball observer. He’ll be relying on a lineup of almost exclusively underclassmen at Binghamton, and his seniors will need to take on the role of playing off the bench.
During the early parts of practice the team has struggled to find leadership which has led to some inconsistent play so far. Senior Rayner Moquete returns after an academic suspension cost him the second half of last season and fellow classmates Alex Ogundadegbe and Roland Brown will provide front court depth.
“It’s an interesting mix because I need our seniors to be good seniors, while at the same time taking a back seat to a sophomore and for a freshman,” Dempsey said. “I think that creates a difficult dynamic at times in the program. It’s not easy on veterans to take a back seat to freshmen and if they can handle it with maturity I think that will help us become a better team.”
Dempsey knows that his rebuilding of the program, which won a combined 10 games the previous two years prior to his arrival, will take time but he has made progress. After being hired, he landed Jordan Reed as his first commit who was one of the league’s best freshmen last season. Reed is already an all-conference player and Dempsey brings in a strong recruiting class of four versatile players this season.
However the biggest obstacle is convincing the seniors that they will be helping push the program forward, even if they are not in the starting lineup.
“I think you have to be honest,” Dempsey said of his message to his seniors. “I think that you have to be respectful that this is their last season and they want to do something right now. You have to try and create a mindset that we’re trying to accomplish something special this year while you’re still here, while at the same time the future is bright.”
The second-year coach of the Bearcats would like to make sure the seniors understand their part in the program’s rebuilding process.
“They will have a role, it might not be the role they hoped for, it might not be the role they want, but at the same time it’s not like they’re not going to play,” Dempsey said. “We’re building something for the future.”
“I think that’s been pretty clear from the start of my tenure here that this is a certainly a process. The older guys are being part of a process, but we’re trying to get better, we’re trying to get better this year and they can either help us do that or not play at all.”
Ryan Restivo covers the America East for Big Apple Buckets, read his America East preview on ESPN.com as part of the ESPN Insider College Hoops 2013-14 Preview. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.