I was in Winter Park last night for the home debut of Kyle McClanahan as a Rollins Tar. I coached Kyle at Winter Park in 2004-2006, and he has remained one of my favorite players of all time. Kyle walked on at Florida and played sporadically for three years. He sat out his senior year to preserve a year of eligibility to play for Rollins.
It was a tough night for the Tars, who lost to Warner 58-50. They trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, but seemed to get control of the game 44-38 midway through the second half. The Tars struggled to shoot all night going 17/60 from the field, turned the ball over and missed vital free throws down the stretch. Once they lost the lead they never seriously threatened to take it back.
Kyle was consistent with his team’s performance. He scored 9 points on 3/12 shooting from the field and 3/5 from the line. He played a solid floor game with 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists against 1 turnover.
I spoke to Kyle after the game and he was clear-eyed about his game, and made a point that I had readily overlooked. This was the first game since high school in which he played under the expectations of performance. At Florida, he would enter every game with the expectation that he would not play, and be pleasantly surprised if he did.
This year, he enters every game knowing he will play 30-plus minutes and the outcome will turn in large part on his contribution. It is a completely different mentality. He must now for the first time in five years take ownership of his team. It is a responsibility to the team to play long minutes and be a core player. It is not to be taken lightly.
I have full confidence in Kyle’s quality and character, and look forward to his realization in this regard.