July 21st, 2024

Pronghorns close to turning narrative on tough season

By Lethbridge Herald on December 14, 2023.

Janise Michel/ Lethbridge Sports University of Lethbridge Pronghorns’ Kymani Pollard battles to the rim with University of Winnipeg Wesmen’s Alberto Gordo during Canada west men’s basketball action last month. Horns coach Kenny Otieno has been impressed with Pollard’s leadership so far this season.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Despite an 0-10 record in the first semester, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s basketball team feel optimism heading into second semester.

Of those 10 losses, five of them were by a couple of points or less.

“Yeah I think it’s been obviously (a) tough semester if you’re thinking about the wins and the losses,” Kenny Otieno, Horns head coach.

“But like the team understands how close we are to changing that narrative (and) to be on the other side of it. And like you said, it’s just a couple of bounces our way, a couple calls our way, a couple of possessions where we can capitalize and (it) can be a situation where it could be 5-5 or 4-6 or whatever that looks like and those close games that we’ve been in. I think the guys understand that perspective of it and I think another perspective of it is that three out of the five teams that we’ve played are top 10 teams in the country.”

Otieno thinks the team has shown they can compete with good teams that have lots of experience and lots of returning players.

“It’s just about staying consistent and getting better at the things that we’re weak at, especially late  game situations, and capitalizing on those moving forward into the second semester,” said Otieno.

The message from the coaches after close losses is to stay hungry.

“I think that’s the biggest perspective that I try and keep with the guys is to make them stay hungry to understand that we’re that close to being on the other side of things because it’s not like we’re getting blown out by these teams and we’re in very close games” said Otieno.

“It’s just staying a little bit more discipline from start to finish and being able to close out games the right way.”

Otieno has seen improvement in terms of leadership from Shae Gibb and Kymani Pollard.

“I think they’ve taken a bigger role this year with us missing some of the guys that usually have the ball (a) majority of the time, in terms of relying on them for scoring,” said Otieno.

“But I think we’ve adjusted this year to having those two take a bigger role. And I think they’re adjusting well and gaining confidence and taking more of a leadership role this year.”

Otieno has also seen progression from the rookies including the likes of Parker Fleming and Joe Lemieux.

Otieno has liked the production and minutes played from Jack- Henry Fox-Grey

“I can definitely see our guys making the effort to get better and show progression from week to week,” said Otieno.

“But yeah I think that’s the biggest positive that I can take.”

The Horn men’s team will be back on the court at UNBC on Jan. 5 and 6.

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