When Ken King took over the reins of the Red Deer College Queens basketball program he said he had a modest goal in mind.
Back in June he wanted his team to be competitive each time they stepped onto the court.
A glance at the 0-10 record might tell you one story but peel back the layers and the coach gives you another perspective.
“Even when we’re losing games there’s still good things happening all over the place,” he said. “With such a young team it’s hard not to be optimistic because we never come out of a game without seeing a positive coming from one person or another.”
On the positive side of the ledger King says he’s seeing a high level of buy-in from the returning veterans to the program.
“I think sometimes it’s almost harder as a returning player because there’s so much change going on. Even just the system stuff we’ve been working is very different than what they’re use to,” he said.
King said the rookies on the Queen’s roster are getting some front line experience at a level many of the 1A and 2A players from high school had never seen.
He also points out there is a strong commitment from the players and he underlines the fact they are given each Sunday off from basketball yet when he goes to the gym on those days to do some work there are a few girls there practicing.
So what is missing in order for this team to chalk up some wins?
“What’s been missing up to this point is some team chemistry and team trust and that’s something that you can’t coach, you can’t drill that. They really just have to be around each other and that’s something that builds with time.”
King said the improvement he sees in their play is due to that trust and chemistry getting stronger each week. Another missing piece though is a winning attitude.
“The girls really now have to believe this is going to be something that is successful and they need to have the attitude that anything that is below the level that brings us to that success is unacceptable.”
His assessment is there is plenty of raw talent within this team and sometimes during games there is a level of panic introduced which hides those skills.
“We just need people to get confident in what they can do, get confident in doing it at this level and then once they really start to showcase what we already know they can do then we’ll start to see more of what they can do in game play.”
King said he is going to give this current group of players every chance to be a member of the team next season so there’s no immediate plan to bring in anyone new over the Christmas break.
“We continue to give them every opportunity we can so it’s their job to go and take those opportunities,” he said.
“This year I’m focusing on developing this group as much as possible.”
He said there have been rocky moments on and off the court but these players are held to as high a standard on the court as they are in the classroom and it doesn’t matter what the standings say where the team sits.
“Holding them to that high standard now is going to benefit them on the court later, off the court later and hopefully once basketball and school are done it will benefit them later in life.”