February 7, 2011

Coach Sam Scholl Sees Broncos Come Far in Four Years

By Carolyn Linck, '11

In four years with the Santa Clara basketball family, Bronco assistant coach Sam Scholl has seen the program develop by leaps and bounds.  Thanks to the hard work of Scholl and the rest of the coaching staff, the Bronco basketball team is in the midst of one of one of their strongest seasons under Head Coach Kerry Keating.  Scholl attributes this success to having experienced players who understand what is expected of them both on and off the court.

"The biggest thing is getting guys with experience in the program so they start understanding our expectations and can pass them down to the younger guys," said Scholl.  "Our seniors – Ben Dowdell, Michael Santos, Troy Payne and Nate Mensah – have done a really good job of setting the right example on a daily basis."

Scholl also views the Broncos emphasis on defense as instrumental to their recent success, including victories in five out of their last six games.

"Our guys have really stepped up their urgency, their commitment and their trust in each other on the defensive end of the floor," said Scholl.  "I think that charge has really been led by two of our seniors, Troy and Ben, who are leading by example on the court right now."

In addition, Scholl, who plays a large role in the recruitment process, explains that bringing in student-athletes with character and passion is another key to the program's development.

"Obviously we look for basketball ability when recruiting, but character is huge too.  We want to bring in guys who are respected by their teammates, their coaches, their teachers and the people in their community.  We want to know that education is a priority for them, and that they have the drive to be great."

Players like freshman standout Evan Roquemore, who is currently leading the team in assists and minutes played in WCC games, proves Scholl's point.

"Evan is a great example.  He is really smart and has a great feel for the game.  With that intelligence and feel he has been able to come in and learn very quickly from his own mistakes and from his teammates."

Scholl, who played two seasons at University of San Diego, knows the WCC well and thinks the Broncos can still improve at this point in conference play.

"We've been doing a good job, but there are still a lot of areas that we can improve in," said Scholl.  "We're doing a good job contesting shots on defense, but rebounding and going for loose balls is something we can still work on."

In addition to progress made on the court, Scholl also explains how the basketball program and entire athletic department has developed a true family atmosphere in the last four years.

"It's very neat, we have a really tight community here as a whole athletic department.  We're all able to cheer for each other and be involved, which I like.  I also love that there are always young kids around.  There are so many parents in the department, which is great for someone like myself, who has two young daughters."

Indeed, Scholl who is married with two daughters ages three and nine months old, views basketball and family as the two most important things in his life.

"It can be hard to balance the two.  I think that's one of the biggest challenges for any coach with a family," said Scholl.  "Obviously, the first step is having an awesome and understanding wife, which I do in Heather.  She knows the demands of what it takes to do my job well and the time that entails.  But whenever I do have time outside of basketball I'm spending it with family – doing anything I can to have fun with my girls and my wife, whether its going to the park, playing games, reading books, whatever it is as long as we're together."