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Skrivseth knows that basketball is a year-round sport

Barry McNamara
07/22/2019
Fighting Scots men's basketball coach Todd Skrivseth has a strategy session with his team during a time-out early in the 2018-19 season. Skrivseth welcomes back all five starters from that team, plus a solid recruiting class.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – The days of the first basketballs coming out of the equipment room after the last football game and then being put away before the snow melts are long gone.

“Basketball never stops, really,” said Fighting Scots men’s coach Todd Skrivseth during a break from leading a Monmouth College camp for area school children entering grades 6-9.

As soon as Skrivseth gets done helping the mostly local players with “skill development and fundamentals” in the College’s Glennie Gym, he’ll be on the road, taking his son, Jake, to a residential basketball camp.

Skrivseth’s summer has also included events from the year-long recruiting cycle. Coaches try to get out and watch as much basketball as their schedule allows during the winter months, but March through July is also full of opportunities to see players at AAU tournaments, sandwiched around the high school “off season,” which is held in June.

August features a few down weeks, but then Skrivseth will welcome his new players and returners in mid-August and get better acquainted with them in advance of the start of official practices on Oct. 15. The Scots will open their season Nov. 15-16, welcoming Eureka and MacMurray to Glennie Gym.

Skrivseth doesn’t mind if the Scots’ schedule extends past the regular season finale, scheduled for Feb. 22. That will mean his team has qualified for its third consecutive Midwest Conference tournament. The last time Monmouth’s men made three straight postseason appearances was 1993-95, led by all-time leading scorer Lance Castle ’95.

The player who broke Castle’s single-season scoring record, Will Carius, is one reason that Skrivseth is excited about the upcoming season. Skrivseth said Carius will likely get preseason National Player of the Year mentions.

“Everybody’s back from last year,” he said. “We not only have all the starters back, but also the guys who played behind them who were starting to come on at the end of the year. We’re going to have good depth.”

The recruiting class

Adding to that depth will be eight new players recruited by Skrivseth and his staff. Several have a chance to be important parts of the rotation in the upcoming season.

Three of the new players already have college experience: guard DeMon Hyler, a starter on a Peru State (Neb.) team that reached the NAIA national tournament; Trevor Davis; a 6-foot-4 forward from Southwestern Illinois College, who Skrivseth recruited from Gibault High School in Waterloo, Ill.; and Carl Sandburg transfer Tyler Dugan, the son of Monmouth alumni Brent ’94 and Marnie Steach Dugan ’95.

Davis will also play baseball at Monmouth, and another two-sport Fighting Scot is Beau Cornwell from West Branch, Iowa. The 1A Football Player of the Year in Iowa as a quarterback, Cornwell also made the all-state team in basketball. Another all-stater is Ottawa Marquette product Jack Snook. The freshman recruits also include three players who are coming more than 1,000 miles to attend Monmouth: Elijah Campbell of Howe, Texas; Amyas Njoku of Culver City, Calif.; and Jack Hosack of St. Petersburg, Fla.

What else is new?

In addition to the new crop of talent, Skrivseth addressed new rule changes for the upcoming season.

At the Division I level, the three-point line will be moved back more than a foot, to 22’1-3/4, which is the international three-point distance. The line will be moved back to that distance in Division III for the 2020-21 season.

“I’m going to have to kind of see,” said Skrivseth, when asked if the increase will affect his long-distance shooters. “I don’t anticipate that much of an adjustment for guys at the college level. (A year from now) we’ll use the early part of our practices to see what kind of effect it has for certain guys.”

The desired effect of the rule, he said, is to address two issues: pace of play and freedom of movement.

“When I was growing up, you had the Bad Boys of the Pistons and you had the New York Knicks playing that real physical style of play,” said Skrivseth. “Almost all the changes the NCAA has made since then are to speed up the pace of play and create more space on the floor.”

A rule change that will be incorporated this season will allow Skrivseth and other coaches to call time-out in live-ball situations in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime periods. (Not having that rule cost the Scots a game against Carroll in the 2015-16 season when Skrivseth was not able to stop the clock to set up his defense after a late go-ahead lay-up by Will Jones ’18. As the Scots scrambled back, the Pioneers raced down the floor and hit a game-winning three-pointer as time expired.)

The other new rule is that the shot clock will reset to 20 seconds, not 30, after a team grabs an offensive rebound of a shot that hits the rim.