TRURO - The NSAC Rams soon have a decision to make.
The men's basketball squad will need to decide whether to play in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship at the Bible Hill campus March 15 to 17, or watch from the stands.
"If it was my decision, I would play," said Rams head coach Colter Simmonds. "But I don't really make that decision and it's something that needs to be discussed."
There is a clause that allows host teams to opt out of competing at national championships if they feel they won't be competitive. In such cases, the second place team in the conference would fill the host spot on the schedule.
NSAC staff, in consultation with Simmonds and players, is expected to make a ruling on the matter in the coming weeks.
The Rams have struggled on the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association circuit this season with just one win in 14 games. Outscored 1,252-797, the Rams are tied for seventh in the eight-team conference with the Saint John Seawolves. The Rams visit the St. Thomas Tommies today at 4 p.m. before taking on the Mount Allison Mounties Sunday at 3 p.m. The same matchups on the women's side take place at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
"You don't want to go there and get beat by 100 by the No. 1 team," Simmonds said.
But that's not something he thinks would happen should the Rams decide to take on the country's best next month at a tournament that sees the champion from each CCAA conference make it's way to Bible Hill. The Rams have added three forwards since the Christmas break that Simmonds feels will change the dynamic of his team.
Tyrone Berry is a London, Ont, native who played the past two years at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. North Preston's Jamel Caine is a former member of the Prince Andrew Panthers who also played in the Dawson College high school program, while Roberto Grant-Beals, also a North Preston resident, is coming off a pair of MVP seasons with the Cole Harbour Cavaliers in 2011 and 2009.
Simmonds coached both Grant-Beals and Caine on the North Preston Bulls minor basketball program and also coached Grant-Beals at Cole Harbour.
All three were quick to make an impact at the NSAC, having consistently been listed among the team's leading scorers since joining the lineup.
"They add depth, toughness, athleticism and give us more confidence," Simmonds said.
Although their contributions haven't added up to wins just yet, Simmonds said he feels victories are just around the corner once the new players get adjusted.
"What we needed was a preseason with the group we have," he said. "Right now is our preseason."
Nontheless, Simmonds said he sees a big difference in his team since the holidays.
"We're coming out each game believing we can win now," he said. "Before we just wanted to play hard and work hard. Now our goal is to try to win."
So Simmonds feels the Rams can surprise some teams at the national event and should get the opportunity to do so.
"I believe we can beat anyone in the country," he said.