Sharks Struggling After Strong Start

Victor Sanchez during a game.
ELI ABASI REPORTER FILE PHOTO Injury Bug: Point guard Victor Sanchez is one of several Sharks sidelined because of injury. He is averaging 4.9 assists and 4.7 points per game when he plays.

After a promising 3-1 start, the Miami Dade College men’s basketball team has sputtered, losing  11 of their last 14 games. Despite the tailspin, the team has not lost its optimism.

“Our team is doing great right now,” said  Kevin Ledoux, the Sharks head coach. “There’s a lot of adversity due to injuries, so we’re actually doing pretty well for the injuries we’re hitting.”

Indeed, the injuries have mounted for the Sharks. Guards Victor Sanchez (groin) and Elijah Hill (ankle) have missed time during the team’s recent rough patch. Forward Ricardo Lynch, who is the team’s second leading scorer (16.3 points per game), has also missed time due to an ankle injury.

“I hate sitting out and seeing my teammates playing and not being able to help them,” Sanchez said.

Besides being a captain, Sanchez is the team’s second leading assist man (4.9 assists per game). He also has a true point guard’s mentality. When asked what he believes the team has missed most about his game, his response was that of a true floor general: “The main thing they maybe have missed from me, is having someone that puts them in the right position.”

With so many key players out of action, Ledoux said it’s been difficult to build team chemistry at the start of the season.

“The style we play, we need everyone to play,” Ledoux said. “We haven’t been able to play our style as far as pressing the entire game and trapping the entire game.”

For a team that depends so much on its depth the injuries have proven costly. The team is currently 6-11.  

Despite the rough start, there have been some positives. Forward Cedric Belemene has made his presence felt. Belemene is nearly averaging a double-double. He’s stuffing the stat sheet, averaging 10.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The team has needed every single bit of his scoring and production on the glass.

“It feels good to help the team,” Belemene said. “It’s making me feel like I’m doing something special.”

Belemene said he is capable of more.

“When I get used to the system we’re playing, my numbers are going to get better,” Belemene said. “I’m hopefully going to be able to help the team much better than I’m doing right now.”

Despite the losses, the players share the same sentiment as their head coach. They believe they will turn things around.

“I really believe we have the potential to do something real special,” Belemene said. “Now we just have to work more and practice, and get better everyday.”

Sanchez agrees.

“We hit rock bottom,” Sanchez said. “We’re getting back. We’re getting up again.”

The Sharks next game is Jan. 18  at 7 p.m. on the road versus Broward College.