by Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Swarthmore College men’s basketball program is in uncharted territory these days.
For the first time ever, the Garnet are nationally ranked. This week, 6-0 Swarthmore came in 22nd in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll.
While this generates a lot of attention for the program, it is a feat that the head coach is taking in stride.
“We’re humbled and honored to receive that recognition,” Swarthmore head coach Landry Kosmalski tells KYW Newsradio, “and I’m sure our fans and the school and people around the program are happy about it. But we’re going to go into practice today and the game (Wednesday against Centennial Conference rival Ursinus) just focusing on our own team goals and making sure we don’t get distracted by outside things over which we have no control.”
Listen to the entire interview with Swarthmore men’s basketball coach Landry Kosmalski
The Garnet program has blossomed under Kosmalski, who is in his fifth season.
The 2015-16 campaign saw Swarthmore go 22-8, with the win total shattering the previous program single season record of 17. It was also the first winning season for the Garnet since the 1996-97 campaign.
Kosmalski says this season’s success is a total team effort.
“I think we’ve got a lot of depth,” he says. “With that depth, we have an unselfish mentality, we have unselfish players and it’s really just been a different person or set of players every game that’s doing well.”
Ten players have appeared in all six games so far this season for Swarthmore.
Sophomore guard Cam Wiley leads the team in scoring at 15.7 ppg. Junior guard Zack Yonda isn’t far behind at 13.0 ppg.
The Garnet play tough defense. They are holding opponents to 36% shooting from the field.
But the most impressive statistic tied to Swarthmore’s success may be this – they out-rebound their opponents by 20 a game.
“We don’t talk about rebounding a ton,” Kosmalski says. “We just talk about being physical and wanting to make sure that all five guys are boxing out. I think it just goes back to having tough-minded, defensive-minded players and rebounding is a big part of that, so they do it pretty well.”
That next game against Ursinus for Swarthmore gets underway at 8:00pm on Wednesday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleonkyw.