October 10, 2012 in Division III
At a glance
- Coach: Chris Coles, first season
- Last year: 4-21, 2-12 MIAA
- Conference: Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA)
- Key losses: Clint Burghdorf, Jaren Edsall, Adam Ruhl
- Key additions: N/A
- Team website
- Olivet news on BallinMichigan
Coles enters his first season as Olivet College‘s coach. His task of turning around the program will be aided by a standout returning player.
Taking over a struggling program is never easy, but the rebuilding job at Olivet will be helped significantly by the return of Alvino Ashley, one of the top players in the MIAA. As a sophomore, he was the only non-junior or senior to make the all-conference team last season after averaging 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game (both led the team). Despite being the focal point of the offense on a bad team, Ashley was still pretty efficient, shooting 48 percent.
Surrounding him, the cast will include 6-foot-9 center Paul Lombard, a sophomore who averaged 6.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and a block per game last season. If he can continue to emerge as an inside presence and help Ashley on the boards, Olivet should be improved.
Overall, the Comets took good care of the ball last season, averaging fewer than 13 turnovers per game.
Olivet struggled passing and shooting the ball last season. No one on the team averaged more than 2.0 assists per game. As a team, the Comets shot just 39 percent and 28 percent from 3-point range.
Defensively, opponents shot 49 percent and 39 percent from 3-point range. With Olivet’s size up front and returning offensive talent, look for the team to both shoot and defend better this season.
Circle these dates …
- Nov. 9 and 16 – The Comets get back-to-back non-conference tests, first against Division II Hillsdale and then Division I Central Michigan.
- Jan. 9 and Feb. 2 – The only MIAA team Olivet beat last season was Alma. The Comets won both games, preventing Alma from having a .500 conference season. If Olivet does it again and can notch together a few other wins, they could leap Alma in the standings.
- Feb. 13 and 16 – Closing the season with road games against Hope and Calvin should be a good measure as to how far Olivet has come during the course of the season.
A drastic jump to the top of the MIAA is probably out of the question, but with the talent coming back, Olivet is very likely to climb out of the MIAA basement.
- Key players all return as Adrian looks to build on second place finish
- Alma College has to replace two MIAA All-Conference players
- Albion gets boost from extra returning player
- High-scoring trio returns for Finlandia