|JCSU searching for consistency ahead of tournament|
|Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014 11:17 am|
Johnson C. Smith basketball coach Steve Joyner is pulling out all the stops to get his Golden Bulls off the deck in time for the CIAA tournament.
|Johnson C. Smith center Emilio Parks (left) was moved to the bench as Golden Bulls head coach Steve Joyner tinkered with the starting lineup in recent games. Parks, JCSU’s leading scorer, tallied 26 points in 24 minutes against Livingstone on Feb. 15.|
The Golden Bulls (14-10, 3-5 South Division), who have lost four of their last five games going into Wednesday’s game against Winston-Salem State, are shaking up everything. Coach Steve Joyner even went to a wholesale lineup change in order to spark improvement by sending the message that no position is safe.
“We’re not trying to beat them up about what they have not done,” he said after an 87-82 loss at Livingstone on Feb. 15. . “We’re focused on the last three ball games of the season and I’m trying to do everything I can to encourage them to win those ball games.”
Joyner’s juggling has given playing time to under-utilized players like Alandre Davis, a 6-9 sophomore who has scored in double-figures in starts against Livingstone and St. Augustine’s – both career highs. Joshua Linson, a sophomore guard, dropped 14 against Livingstone as a starter.
“We’re having difficulty right now finding five committed players, so we’re trying to shake things up and give other people an opportunity,” Joyner said.
The demotion may have helped some former starters, too. Junior center Emilio Parks led JCSU with 26 points in 24 minutes against Livingstone while senior forward Antwan Wilkerson hauled down a career-best 18 rebounds in the same game.
The Golden Bulls rebounded with a win at St. Augustine’s on Feb. 17, the first game of the season-ending trio. After WSSU at Brayboy Gym, JCSU plays Shaw in the regular season finale on Saturday. The goal is to improve depth and establish some momentum in time for the tournament.
“The CIAA championship is still out there,” Joyner said. “It’s the ultimate goal for everybody, but sometimes people don’t keep their eyes on the prize,” he said. “These guys’ eyes are not on the prize right now. They’re not focused and they have not been for a couple of weeks now but I see it coming back around.”
The Golden Bulls will need it if they’re going to be a contender at the CIAA tournament.
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