Breaking News Bar

Back In The Groove

  • John A. Logan men's basketball coach and Harrisburg native Kyle Smithpeters watches over the Volunteers first practice of the season last week.

    John A. Logan men's basketball coach and Harrisburg native Kyle Smithpeters watches over the Volunteers first practice of the season last week.

By Spyder Dann
updated: 10/30/2020 5:23 PM

In the world of COVID-19, nothing is normal and no one probably knows that better than Kyle Smithpeters.
The Harrisburg native and John A. Logan College men's basketball coach kicked off the season with the first practice last week and as of today is 100 days out from the Volunteers first game.
In something of a State Of The Union address, Smithpeters looks back and looks ahead on what's been a head shaking year.
Last season essentially ended with the Vols finding out that after going 28-5 and winning the Region 24 Tournament that playing in the National Tournament in Hutchison Kansas was a no-go.
It was going to be the second strip for Smithpeters, who led his team to 11 straight victories and winners of 24 of their last 25 games.
So now, Smithpeters hits the fast forward button and he's hired a new assistant coach in John Clancy, re-adjusted his schedule, which will start now on January 28 and work with a roster that said good bye to potential NBA draft pick and Region 24 Player Of The Year in Jay Scrubb.
Oh, and the corona virus is still a thing and during the start of the semester, there was a fire on campus that forced the team out of the gymnasium until the beginning of this month.
What has Smithpeters learned during this tumultuous time?
A) That is team is resilient and B) do a great job of adapting, not complaining and staying positive.
The latter Smithpeters admits -- for college kids -- is something to really appreciate.
"We had a group of guys, a few that are here, that had a chance to go to the National tournament and win. They didn't get that opportunity. Now we have new guys coming in and some opportunities were taken away from them," Smithpeters said. 'I've just been very happy with the composure of the group moving forward. We have a lot of time until we play and that's fine. This has been good for us as a new team and to get to know each other and get better in the skill department. A lot of strength training and making sure that this long summer where there wasn't much going on is kind of going away. We don't want to have any injuries or anyone tweaking anything because they may have not have worked out they same way they always have. We're trying really hard to be proactive in the recovery aspect of what this summer has been at this point."
JALC returns six sophomores in Sydney Curry, Jamarion Sharp, Cam Alford, Mario McKinney, Isaiah Ervin and Carterville's Justin Johnson.
The Vols' freshman class also include a handful of local talent in Marion's Jackson Connor, Pinckneyville's Dawson Yates and Carterville's Austin Garbe.
Other freshmen include, Detrick Reeves, Dre Boyd and Teon Nesbitt.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.