MURFREESBORO – Jim Tribbett is satisfied his team is progressing.
Despite an early 1-4 record, the Hawks are starting to form the nucleus of a good team, according to the fourth-year coach.
“Early on I’m pleased with our team defense,” Tribbett said Tuesday in his weekly meeting with press. “We’ve been exposed by a couple of individual payers, but we’ve been keeping our games in the 60s and low 70s even against a Division I and heavyweight Division II team.”
“I’m pleased we’re not giving up 90 and scoring 70 early on,” he said. “While we’re developing our team identity early, we have to be play good, solid team defense and be above average in rebounding.”
The coach said he was focusing specifically on not giving up offensive rebounds. That emphasis paid off in a contest against Millersville this past weekend where the hawks gave up less than a handful of offensive boards.
While he’s pleased with the early signs from his club, Tribbett does want to see his team improve in some areas.
“Our outside shooting has to improve,” he said. “We also have to improve in turning the ball over. We have quality guards, but we are not necessarily getting quality guard play at this point.”
While those improvements need to be made, the coach was secure in the results if they did make adjustments.
“If we cut our turnovers in half and continue to play solid team defense, we will win the games we supposed to win,” he said.
The Hawks got off to a good start to the season with a win over Coker College in the first round of the Pickle Classic.
Tribbett said his team got out to a big 30-9 lead at the start of the game and gave him the ability to rotate in a lot of players and get people some experience.
Chowan then played a tough contest against Mount Olive College, the tournament’s host and gave them a tough time, even in a packed house of pro-Mount Olive fans.
“There were six lead changes in the last 10 minutes, but we just never could get a basket and the ball lead,” Tribbett said. “They always counter-punched.
“They made plays down the stretch and we didn’t,” he said. “They closed out the game the way they should have and we showed our inexperience.”
The Hawks then had a tough assignment against Division I member High Point where they battled, but came up short after a bizarre power outage forced the game to be picked up a day after it started.
Chowan has gotten solid play from senior Trayvon Lathan, but Tribbett stressed it was important that the team have balanced scoring to be successful.
“For us to be successful, we have to have balanced scoring,” he said. “We don’t want to limit Trayvon, but we have to have four people in double figures like we did last year if we’re going to get where we want to be.”
Tribbett was also pleased with the development of Deon Tynes, Lando Morrison and Daryl Poole over the first few games of the season.
As he looks to the future, the coach said he wanted to get his team into a rhythm and let them learn how to execute as a group.
“We want to be aggressive and attack the basket, but not at the expense of ill-advised passes or shooting too quick,” he stressed. “That will come with experience and chemistry.”
The Hawks will be back at home at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon when they host Concord College.