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Shepherd men looking for a leader

November 23, 1996

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The difference between winning and losing isn't anything Shepherd College men's basketball coach Denny Alexander can explain with a ruler.

It's something intangible, not measurable.

"We are big, quick and fast," Alexander said. "But the difference between winning and losing is very small. You need leadership and character and we need them to be successful."

Any changes for Shepherd have been subtle so far. Alexander plans to open the season with the same starting lineup that he ended last season's 8-19 campaign. There has been some added emphasis on defensive pressure. But finding players who will give the Rams direction on the floor has become the top priority heading into today's season opener at University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

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"I'm big on leadership," Alexander said. "It's all about leadership. We have more talent now than any other time since I've been here. Our biggest job is to get players and get them to play hard. To get them out there and not hesitate and look over their shoulders. If the leaders do their jobs, we can be very competitive."

That on-court lack of direction could explain why Shepherd finished 8-19 for the second straight season. The Rams were 3-4 in games decided by five points or less and 6-10 in games decided by 10 points or less last season.

The main task of leadership falls on the shoulders of senior forward Chris Wilson and junior guard Rashad Crutchfield, the team captains.

"Chris came through for us last year, but I have no idea how," Alexander said. "It's been a lot of hard work. Rashad is our most athletic player. We have good players with good leadership. As Chris and Rashad go, we go."

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