A 17-15 record on paper meant statistical improvement for the Lee College Rebels basketball team, but for head coach Roy Champagne, it still left a lot to be desired.
It was a first winning season since 2016-2017 that ended in the Region XIV quarterfinals last week.
“We definitely underachieved with this team winning 17 games and playing without its top three players in more than a handful of games, we should have been a 22-win or more team,” Champagne said. “A positive was that when we didn’t have those players, the rest of the team rallied and competed.”
Keontae White, Jackson Makoi and Ishmael Paris-Cruz all missed time for various reasons ranging from physical to personal to academic.
Champagne noted the roster consisted of only three sophomores and only one - Yamill Wip - was a returning player.
“There wasn’t a lot of locker room leadership,” Champagne said. “They did trust enough. They were all talented, but when adversity struck, they all tried to do it on their own instead of leaning on each other.”
Turnovers plagued the team at inopportune times and Champagne cited a number of “wasted possessions” as a big sticking point in reasons for the Rebels struggles.
Lee scored 81 points a night in conference play while committing 15 turnovers per game and shooting 45.7 percent from the field. Defensively, they gave up 82.3 ppg a night and forced two less turnovers.
The future of the program is a bit hazy as roster turnover is expected.
“There is no guarantee who is coming back,” Champagne said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the classroom and in regards to discipline. We’ll make decisions based upon that in May and then put it all together. I hope they all make it, but I doubt that they will.”
Champagne said the return rate at Lee under him has been 100 percent.
“It’s just a different culture that we are living in,” he said. “We need to find young men committed to be student athletes at the college level.”