It was a struggle last season for Clarke boys basketball, closing out the 2018-19 campaign with a record of 2-18. But, with the team in the middle of a rebuild, Clarke head coach Jim Dingeman is eager and ready to get his team back on the floor and back to winning games.
“I think we’re kind of at the start of a good group, of guys over the next few years. The guys I have coming back all have varsity experience,” said Dingeman. “They’re all really chomping at the bit to get going, and I’m really excited. I think we can have my best year here, ... the guys are ready to go, and I feel good going into this season.”
Clarke saw the exit of instrumental players last season, including leading scorer Lenny Peavy due to graduation. Peavy, a South Central all-conference first team member, averaged 19.3 points per game while shooting 40.5% from the floor.
He posted 62 assists and 40 steals, both second on the Indians, and finished the year with 66 rebounds.
Along with Peavy was Conner Deutsch, who averaged nine points per game with 55 rebounds and 70 steals. Deutsch, who is now at Iowa Central Community College playing baseball, played a leadership role with fellow seniors Emanuel Mosely and Marshall Morrison.
“We are going to be looking for a little bit of leadership from our older guys,” said Dingeman. “They haven’t been put in that situation yet, but for scoring, it’s going to be a lot more spread out. (It) gets more guys involved and keeps guys invested a lot easier. Being a little more well rounded should make us harder to scheme for too, so I’m looking forward to being a little bit different of a team this year.”
Dingeman has been impressed with the team as a whole as opposed to singling out one individual while the team goes through a training camp.
“I’m really impressed with all of our guys in general,” said Dingeman. “We’ve held what I’ve called a training camp the last few weeks, open gym and lifting after school, and we had pretty much everyone in the program there the last two weeks. I was really happy with that and the intensity and all the younger guys who are going to be stepping up into a new role.”
Dingeman added there is going to be a lot of motion-schemed offensive plays, saying that with an abundance of players who can score the ball it’ll give Clarke an opportunity at all times.
The South Central Conference is expected to be a tough field entering this season. Last season the Indians finished last in the conference, losing all 11 conference games. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont was the conference winner with a record of 16-5 (11-0).
Dingeman knows how good the SCC can be and how tough it was on Clarke last season, but feels the conference as a whole is competitive if you include Clarke in the mix.
“I think the conference is still pretty strong,” said Dingeman. “We’ve got Albia and Centerville who should be really good. Knoxville should be good. Eddyville has had a lot of success lately and Davis County had a good year. ... I think we have a very competitive conference from the top to the bottom.”
The Clarke Indians start the season Monday, Dec. 2 at home against Mount Ayr.
Dec. 2 – vs. Mount Ayr, 4:45 p.m.
Dec. 3 – at Stanton, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 – vs. Chariton, 5 p.m.
Dec. 10 – Knoxville, 5 p.m.
Dec. 13 – at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, 5 p.m.
Dec. 17 – at Albia, 5 p.m.
Dec. 20 – vs. Centerville, 5 p.m.
Jan. 7 – vs. Davis County, 5 p.m.
Jan. 11 – vs. Nodaway Valley, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 – at Bedford, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 – at Chariton, 5 p.m.
Jan. 17 – at Knoxville, 5 p.m.
Jan. 21 – vs. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, 5 p.m.
Jan. 24 – vs. Albia, 5 p.m.
Jan. 27 – at Pleasantville, 4:45 p.m.
Jan. 28 – at Centerville, 5 p.m.
Jan 31 – at Davis County, 5 p.m.
Feb. 4 – vs. Lamoni, 6:15 p.m.
Feb. 6 – vs. Earlham, 6 p.m.
Feb. 11 – at Central Decatur, 5 p.m.
Feb. 13 – at Interstate 35, 6 p.m.