|This season it's now or never for Redbird seniors|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Sunday, 11 November 2012 19:50|
Jackie Carmichael joined the ISU men’s basketball program in 2009. Anthony Cousin and John Wilkins became Redbirds in 2010 and last season was Tyler Brown’s first with the squad. The paths that have led them to ISU are different, but now that they make up this year’s senior class on the men’s basketball team, they all hope to be on the same track — one that will lead them to a Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship.
“My mindset is based on just getting a championship for our team this year,” Cousin said. He is looking forward to the incoming members of the team. He feels that having four seniors on the team will provide them with strong leaders and hopes they can make last year’s loss their motivation to win this time around.
“The loss,” as it seems to be known, was in overtime of the MVC Championship game to Creighton and was the Redbirds’ last chance at earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. Although some use “the loss” as fuel to the fire, others want to keep their attention on the road ahead.
“I try not to focus too much on last season because we’re not entitled to anything and we’re coming in this season with kind of a target on our backs,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael is the Redbirds’ leading scorer from last season when he averaged 13.9 points per game, just ahead of fellow senior Brown who averaged 13.7.
Despite it only being Brown’s second season with the ’Birds, the 2012 Valley All-Newcomer team member feels that his fellow seniors have welcomed him since he joined the team last season after transferring from Marshalltown Community College.
“The other guys had [more] years together, but I came in last year kind of like a rookie, but they have taken me in and its been good,” Brown said. “We trust each other and know what it takes to win with each other. We’ve won some close games with each other and we’ve lost close games with each other.”
Cousin believes the chemistry between the seniors and the team will help them get what they want out of the season.
“Everybody gets along very well, so that’s going to really help us on and off the court — good team chemistry really affects the play so we’re hoping that we can just use that and continue to win games,” Cousin said.
As far as roles on the team go, a senior leadership role does come with the territory. But the players also view their role as doing whatever needs to be done to win, no matter how big or small the contribution may be.
“[My role is to] go on the floor and lead in whatever way possible,” Carmichael said. “If that’s getting three rebounds and 10 points and we’re winning games, that’s awesome, then that’s my role. [I want to] go out there and help my team in whatever
That this is their last season, and last chance, to achieve their goals is not lost on the seniors.
“You feel like it’s your last chance to get what you wanted,” Brown said. “You want to get what you worked hard for at your time at ISU, so that’s just a championship at the Missouri Valley level … It is a sense of urgency to work harder than you worked before and go out there everyday and give it your all.”