Brent Bach

Bellarmine's Brent Bach makes a pass in the second half during an exhibition against Cincinnati, Wednesday, November 1, in Louisville at Freedom Hall.

Evan Dennison, The Ledger Independent

In the first minute of Bellarmine's exhibition with Cincinnati last Wednesday, it looked like the Brent Bach of old, knocking down a 3-pointer in the corner.

Augusta fans were used to seeing that for years when he was a Panther, topping the school's all-time record books in Augusta history with 2,615 points.

But as the game went on against the Bearcats, Bach's progression into an all-around player started to show. As a senior now with the Knights, that's what Bach is aiming for, not the guy that everyone's used to seeing knock down jumpers and piling up points, but a guy that defends, cuts to the basket and moves without the basketball.

"I want to make a bigger impact on the defensive end," Bach said, who enters his senior season as a projected starter. "Not only on the defensive end, but on the offensive end whether it be cutting, passing and just trying to be an all-around player."

With his approach and sharpshooting not to be forgotten, comes more playing time for Bach as the Knights feature a deep team yearning for another Final Four run. 

"We've got a really deep team, so when I get in there I go 110 percent and get a break and come right back in," Bach said. "Overall, I think this team is really deep and the plan is to get back to the Final Four."

Bach and the Knights got a taste of the Final Four last season, making the Elite Eight run to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knocking off Colorado School of Mines before bowing out to Fairmont State in the Final Four.

In Bach's junior year, he appeared in all 36 games for the Knights, averaging 5.2 points per game and led the team in both 3-point percentage (47.6) and free throw percentage (93.1), getting roughly 13 minutes a contest.

As he understands his role even more, the impact shown is being noticed by his coach.

"When he's so active, he's so good," Knights coach Scott Davenport said. "What we tell Brent like we tell all of them, 'Great players affect the game in a lot of ways.' We all know he's as good as a shooter as I've ever coached, when he's deflecting and rebounding and creating, he's affecting the game in a lot of ways. When they affect the game, they affect those around them."

Davenport's also seen a vast improvement in his defense.

"It’s much better, when he first got here he couldn’t guard me. When his man scores, he gets upset now, he really does. He’s going to have a great senior year, no doubt," Davenport said, who's led the Knights to a 287-93 record in 12 seasons, including a national title in 2011.

The first three exhibition games have shown a glimpse of Bach's capability this year, he scored eight points with two rebounds, two assists and a steal in a 89-61 loss to Cincinnati and followed that up on Saturday with six points and three rebounds in a 77-51 win over Mt. St. Joseph, on Tuesday, Bach led the Knights with 12 points with two steals and a rebound in a 72-57 loss to Louisville.

Bach expressed how he'd like to continue his playing career when it's all said and done at Bellarmine after the 2017-18 season. He's set to graduate in the spring with a communications degree.

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Maybe he can follow in the footsteps of another local product, Mason County's Chris Lofton, who recently signed on with a French Club, LeMans Sarthe for his ninth season overseas.

The Lofton news broke the day Bellarmine played Cincinnati and I was able to ask him about it.

"I'm going to have to send him a text and congratulate him," Bach said. "That's great for him, nine years. He's definitely helped me through the summers while I've been here, he's a great role model and I'm happy for him."

Bach also keeps tabs on some of his former teammates, a trio of them in Owens Crawford, Connor Maddox and Jared Shoemaker, who all currently play at Kentucky Christian University.

"I love it. I love seeing them grow as adults and also on the basketball court. I think they got a lot of success coming their way. I'd like to get to a game, but with a busy schedule I just try to keep up with it on Twitter and things like that," Bach said.

Bellarmine gets their regular season started Friday against Saginaw Valley State in Indianapolis at 3 p.m.


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