March 16, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Former John A. Logan College men’s basketball coaches Mark Imhoff and Tom Ashman say they are extremely proud of this year’s team qualifying for Nationals for the first time since 1995.

“I think it’s a great tribute to our program,” said Mark Imhoff, who served as head coach of the Vols from the 1995-96 season through the 2011-12 season. “I’m tickled to death for them. Kyle (Smithpeters), Zach (Carpenter) and Charlie (Jones) have done a great job coaching them.”

Imhoff said he has watched a handful of games this season and came away impressed.

“I can tell you that it is a very talented group with a lot of experience,” he said. There’s also good depth, which is very important when you get into the postseason and start playing several games in a row.”

Imhoff said he wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Vols be in the hunt for a national championship.

“It’s a good ballclub and the coaching staff has done a good job preparing for the next level,” he said. “There’s not much advice I could give them other than stay consistent – keep doing the things you’ve been doing that have made you successful. There is no need to veer off course now.”

Ashman coached the Vols from the 1980-81 season through the 1994-95 season.

“I’m just so very proud of the team,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and effort to continually make improvements to the program. Mark improved the program after I left and now Kyle and his staff are improving the team since he left. I don’t think the program has ever been in better shape than it is now.”

Ashman said the ’95 team, which was the first Logan team to qualify for Nationals and Ashman’s last as head coach, was a solid one, finishing 25-11.

“We lost both games we played at Nationals – one to a very good West Nebraska team and one to an equally good Vincennes team. What was frustrating was that we were up 11 on Vincennes at the half and couldn’t finish the job. Hopefully, this year’s team will enjoy a lot more success. I certainly think they are capable.”

Some players from that ’95 team included: Donyell Bush, Noah O’Daniel, Mitch Hankins, Sam Alexander, Antius Clark, Travis Schofield, Eric Patterson, Todd Tripp and Andre Taylor. Most went on to excel at four-year schools upon completing their time at Logan.

“A lot of your success at Nationals is the luck of the draw. I don’t know anything about this Cape Fear team from North Carolina, but I am confident that they will have a tough time beating us because we are a very dangerous team, so good on both ends of the floor. There are no real weaknesses with this team and Kyle is the right man to lead them.”

Ashman and Imhoff have another connection to the team beyond having coached the Vols. Assistant coach Charlie Jones was recruited by and played for Ashman and Imhoff in the mid-1980s.