By TRAVIS MEWHIRTER
NICEVILLE — By Steve DeMeo's own admission, he needs a psychiatrist.
Not for the reasons one might think when hearing that come from a college basketball coach. No, DeMeo's Northwest Florida State Raiders are 8-0 following a pair of blowout wins — 86-57 over JC Clinton on Friday and 85-58 over Pasco-Hernandez State on Saturday — this weekend.
His problem: NWF State might just be too good, in too many areas, with too many options.
Jalen Jackson, the leading scorer on the weekend with 24 against Clinton and 14 on Pasco-Hernandez, explained: "I feel like we can't be contained because we have so many threats. I feel like if I'm on, you gotta stop me. If you stop me, you gotta stop Benji (Bell). If you stop Benji you gotta stop B.A. (Brandon Austin), and if you stop B.A. then you gotta stop a whole bunch of other people who can score."
"You gotta have a group of defensive stoppers to stop us."
So yes, the majority of DeMeo's problems are of the enviable variety.
How can he get Jackson enough shots when Austin and Bell are equally as dangerous with the ball?
"I like the balance of the team," DeMeo said. "And the guards are so unselfish too. Incredible balance with this team. We have 11 guys and they all can play and that's the problem — everyone's good. It's just a matter of who I get playing time to. It's just a matter of picking out of a hat sometimes.
"It's a good problem to have so many good players. We're 8-0, trying to enjoy the experience."
DeMeo does have one legitimate issue, and one common coaching lament.
His Raiders went 8-of-18 from the free-throw line. Though there's no statistic available, they also likely missed more dunks than they made, though Bell did hook up with Williams for a crowd-pleasing off-the-backboard-dunk.
"I just seen him in the back of my head," Bell said. "In practice, we always talk about what we're going to do if we get the chance. I just told him I'd do it for him, and we did it."
In their eight wins this year, the Raiders are flattening opponents by nearly 40 points per game, averaging just shy of 100 points per contest.
That could change Wednesday, as Bell, Jackson and DeMeo all pointed to Southwest Tennessee as the toughest test they will have faced all year.