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  • John A. Logan College head coach and Harrisburg High School graduate Kyle Smithpeters speaks during Monday's Media Day held at the school's Carterville campus.

    John A. Logan College head coach and Harrisburg High School graduate Kyle Smithpeters speaks during Monday's Media Day held at the school's Carterville campus.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 10/31/2018 8:51 AM

John A. Logan men's basketball coach Kyle Smithpeters fully believes in Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

The Vols coach who enters his seventh season at the helm and is a combined 139-52 with five straight season of 20 or more wins is about to test the resiliency of his ballclub like he never has before.

This season, JALC ranks 12th nationally from the Street & Smith's preseason basketball JUCO poll and the Vols will be tested right out of the game when they play host to Motlow State on Thursday night, a team that was in the National Tournament the last three straight years.

That's just the start and the remainder of the schedule is littered with Top 25 caliber competition.

"We want it to be tough," Smithpeters said Monday at the school's Media Day held at the Carterville campus. "And with it being tough, we want to walk in and win every game but realistically - the way our schedule is set up - that's not the case. We want to be challenged and if we do come through unscathed then that would be great. I think it's much easier to set up a schedule and win games than it is to set up one and lose so we want to make sure we're playing some of the best teams we can play. Even case in point, in the Midwest Jamboree that we had, we wanted to have the toughest schedule and we wanted to see how our guys would respond when things get tough. People understand how tough our region already is and then we've added our non-conference games with Moberly, East Mississippi, Motlow State. It could make for a long season but hopefully, we're talented and good enough to win some games."

Logan participated in two Jamborees, going 3-0 at the Vincennes Jamboree with wins over Parkland, Danville and Indiana Elite Prep. At the Midwest Jamboree, hosted by Logan, the Vols went 2-1 with wins over of Southwest Tennessee and Mineral Area, while losing to nationally ranked Moberly.

After Motlow State on Thursday, the Vols will host Three Rivers on Nov. 6 and Vincennes (a Top-10 ranked school) on Nov. 14.

That follows three home games in December: Wabash Valley (Dec. 1), Lewis & Clark (Dec. 15) and Kankakee Community College (Dec. 16).

JALC will play five home games in January: West Kentucky Tech (Jan. 4), Southwestern Illinois College (Jan. 9), Lake Land College (Jan. 12), Olney Central (Jan. 23) and Kaskaskia (Jan. 30).

The home portion will conclude in February with four games: Shawnee (Feb. 2), Southeastern Illinois (Feb. 9), Rend Lake (Feb. 23) and Lincoln Trail (Feb. 26).

The Vols are likely contenders to win the Region 24 crown again this year and will do so with a trio of captains, including David Sloan, Vonnie Patterson and Jonah Jackson.

Sloan is a sophomore from Louisville, Ky., who led the nation in assists last season, while Patterson averaged 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Jackson averaged 7.9 points, while shooting just under 40 percent from 3-point range.

"We've been fortunate enough to win our league the last four of the five years and we want to make sure we keep that going in the right direction. They added that at-large bid now in the junior college game and we want to make sure we put our best foot forward to get that. We have three teams in the top 25. We're the only region in the country that has that, luckily for us. We want to make sure our resume is as good as anyone's if we have to go to that drawing board."

Besides, Smithpeters knows, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.

2018-2019 JOHN A. LOGAN MEN'S SCHEDULE

11-1 MOTLOW STATE 7 PM

11-6 THREE RIVERS 7 PM

11-9 at Lincoln Land TBA

11-10 at Eastern Mississippi TBA

11-14 VINCENNES 7 PM

11-20 Kaskaskia 7:30 PM

11-28 at Shawnee 7 PM

12-1 WABASH VALLEY 3 PM

12-2 at Moberly CC 5 PM

12-4 at Three Rivers 7 PM

12-8 at Southeastern Illinois 3 PM

12-15 LEWIS & CLARK 3 PM

12-16 KANKAKEE 5 PM

1-4 WEST KENTUCKY TECH 5 PM

1-9 SOUTHWESTERN ILLINOIS 7 PM

1-12 LAKE LAND 3 PM

1-16 at Rend Lake 7:30 PM

1-19 at Lincoln Trail 3 PM

1-23 OLNEY CENTRAL 7 PM

1-26 at Vincennes 7 PM

1-30 KASKASKIA COLLEGE 7 PM

2-2 SHAWNEE 3 PM

2-6 at Wabash Valley 7 PM

2-9 SOUTHEASTERN ILLINOIS 3 PM

2-13 at Lewis & Clark 7 PM

2-16 at Southwestern Illinois 3 PM

2-20 at Lake Land 7 PM

2-23 REND LAKE 3 PM

2-26 LINCOLN TRAIL 7 PM

3-1 at Olney Central 7 PM