TRINITY — Another season of mediocrity was not in store for Trinity College’s men’s basketball team.
A year ago, the Tigers went 4-22 and wins were very hard to come by. Under the direction of first-year coach Rob Oppedisano, Trinity College made a quick turnaround and reeled off a program-best 14 wins and qualified for the Bible College NIT tournament in New York City this past winter. The Tigers, is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), faced numerous opponents beyond the NCCAA level, including Southeastern, Ava Maria and Florida National. Armed with a balanced attack lineup that had nearly every starter averaging double digits, the Tigers have moved into small-college prominence.
“What we tried to do is bring in great guys who can play ball,” Oppedisano said. “The guys bought in on both teams. Defensively, we just go after people. A lot of people told us they can’t believe how young we are and how good we could be. As long as these guys stick together and keep playing, we expect to be the best small program in the nation.” Trinity College finished this past season at 14-5 and the team was primarily freshmen, with the exception of standout senior forward Kevin Brown. Brown, who was the team’s leading scorer at 14.9 points and 10 boards a game. Brown also shot an impressive 64.9 percent from the field, won the slam dunk competition at the Bible College tourney and scored a season-high 34 points in a 102-93 victory vs. Davis College (New York).
“We challenged (Kevin) to match his defense with his offense and his numbers overall really improved,” Oppedisano said. “He played lights out in the game against Davis College and once he got going, we just rode his back to victory. Kevin was like Mr. Trinity. He’s played at Trinity the past couple of seasons and he’s just been a staple.”
Oppedisano isn’t alone in transforming Trinity College into one of the best small college programs in the nation. Assistant head coach Bobby Bowman has been the man behind the scenes for the Tigers, according to Oppedisano. Bowman handled many duties for the basketball program, from academics to arranging team transportation, and without his assistance, Oppedisano believes Trinity College wouldn’t have had its success.
“Without coach (Bobby) Bowman, we wouldn’t be where we are at,” Oppedisano said. “It’s definitely more than just a one person job. He is the man behind the program and get things up and going. He’s been at Trinity the past five years and he’s implemented some of the things he’s wanted to implement.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.