Bell hoping to lead MU to top of the PSAC
In just his second collegiate season, Joe Bell is already establishing himself as one of the premier scorers in the PSAC.
The offensive numbers are impressive, and so is the list off honors he has received.
Multiple times this year he has been the conference player of the week. A season ago he was the PSAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 16.3 points a game as a freshman, a number that is up to 17.2 this season.
However, Bell knows that it's not about scoring. It's not about putting up 25 or 30 a night.
Bell knows what his coach expects from him and what he expects from himself, and that's to help lead Mansfield back to the top of the conference.
"Coach always tells me do what you have to do to win," Bell said. "If you need to score 30 to win, if you need to not score and to have someone else score 30, I have to do what helps us win."
And, that has meant working on other aspects of his game along with the scoring totals.
A season ago Bell averaged 6.9 rebounds a game. A nice number, but one he has worked to improve this year.
This season Bell is averaging 8.8 boards a game and he has a 22-rebound game against Clarion and a 17-board performance against California (Pa.).
"Last season averaged about six rebounds a game," Bell said. "We are not that big of a team so I had to work on that rebounding the ball more."
When last season started Bell was still trying to find his way in the conference and on the team, now he knows that he is expected to be Mansfield's go-to player.
"At first last year I didn't have the green light," Bell said. "When we played against IUP and Cal I stepped up and coach kind of gave me the green light after that.
"I'm still a young guy in the league. It's still a little new to me, but the upperclassmen, they kind of respect me. They expect me to shoot the ball now."
At first last year Bell didn't want to step on his teammates toes, but after a while he realized that he was being counted on to provide offense.
"When you are a senior you want to have higher stats and you want to take the shots," Bell said. "But, they needed someone to step up and take some shots."
Now Bell is starting to see teams set up defenses with the goal of stopping him.
"When we played Ship they put a main in the game to not let me get the ball," Bell said. "They did a pretty good job. It's stressful, but when teams do that, when they double team me I am able to find my teammates."
Bell also has confidence that no matter what the defense does, he's capable of still producing on offense.
"It's really hard sometimes, but I have the mentality that no one is able to stop me," he said
With the numbers he has already put up, Bell has some big goals in mind for what he'd like to accomplish in his career.
"I think I can score 1,000 points, but I'd like to break the record at the school," Bell said. "It's like 1,700 or 1,800 points I think."
While Mansfield is just 5-14 on the year, 3-12 in the conference, seven of those losses are by 10 points or less and Bell believes this team is capable of big things.
"We still have some missing pieces, but I think we can be a top team in the PSAC," Bell said.
And, looking up at the banners of past championships in Decker Gymnasium, Bell has some lofty goals for the future.
"I want to put at least two banners up there," he said.