A bakers dozen of Division 1 transfers at the junior college level can make any coach salivate, but as John A. Logan College men's basketball coach Kyle Smithpeters and the Vols embark on Wednesday's Junior College National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, it's another kind of experience that has the Harrisburg native excited.
Smithpeters spoke of his teams experience against quality competition and how he feels that will be the X-factor heading into Wednesday's noon tipoff against No. 13 seed Harcum.
"We have had some really competitive games against a lot of good teams," Smithpeters says of his squad that sports a 29-3 record. "We've been challenged and we have experienced a lot of different things, night in and night one. The things we can take away from these games are something you can't simulate -- at least not at this point of the season -- and I think it's what you want going into a March tournament.
It's a balanced attack for the Vols who finished the year on a five-game win streak, including the Region 24 title.
The Vols have three players in double figures this season as Bradley transfer Sean East leads the charge at 20.3 points per game. Indiana State transfer Cobie Barnes is next up at 14.5 and Tujautae Williams, a transfer from Tennessee Tech isn't far behind at 12.3 points per game.
Cam Alford, in his second season at Logan, but who transferred from Alabama A&M averages 9.5 points per game, while Grambling State transfer Sarion McGee is good for 7.3 points per game.
JALC averages 81.7 ppg and shoots 49% from the field, 35% from 3-point range and 76% from the free throw line
Defensively, the Vols are just as solid, limiting the opposition to 70 ppg and holding them to 44% shooting and 29% from behind the arc.
Harcum, who beat Southern Idaho 92-65 Monday night at Hutch, knocked down 13 3-pointers, where they fired up 32, en route to the matchup with the No. 4 seed Vols.
Mentally, Smithpeters knows his team needs to be strong, but physically he knows the Vols will have to be stronger.
"At this point, we know we are one of the 16 teams left in the country, but that doesn't make us the best. All these teams are talented and good. We have to bring our best effort and be able to handle things when they don't go our way. That's the sign of a good team -- are you able to capitalize when things aren't going our way?
"I've always expected us to be a good offensive team," he said. "But, do we have the ability to win when shots aren't falling? I feel like our versatility and experience this year … being in a lot of situations that maybe some other team's haven't been in, will prove to be beneficial."
John A. Logan College vs. HarcumWhen: Wednesday, Noon
Where: Hutchison, Kansas