BC men’s hoop team looking to bounce back

Esteban Ramirez, Sports Editor

After a disappointing year last season, in which it lost a lot of close games due to turnovers, lack of rebounding and key injuries, the Bakersfield College men’s basketball team is ready to redeem itself this year.

“We’re looking good,” said BC coach Rich Hughes. “We have a lot of returning players, so we haven’t had to teach as much. We’ve also had some newcomers, but nowhere as much as last year. The returners have helped the coaches teach the newcomers.”

BC currently has 23 players on the team and six of them are returning players: forward Conroy Lester, guard Duncan Schramm, guard Gerald Bates, guard Mike Young, guard Robert Williams, forward Damian Robinson and center Taevanwe Morrison, who got hurt for the year before the team’s first game last season.

He added that their work ethic on the defensive end has been their strong point.

“Our strength is that we work hard defensively,” said Hughes. “We play pretty hard which is a big thing for us. We’re also more athletic than last year, and as a team I think we shoot the ball better from the perimeter.

“I think we still need to improve on our toughness, which falls under rebounding. Being that we’re usually a short team, rebounding becomes a toughness issue. If we’re tough and we make contact on our box outs, we’ll be able to rebound better. That’s going to be something that we’ll need to improve on from now until our first game.

“We also need to improve on taking care of the ball, which is limiting turnovers. We play fast so, turnover wise, that’s something we’re always going to emphasize. When you play fast you tend to be unfundamental, so we got to keep preaching discipline. I think those are the two things that will affect the wins and losses early.”

He explained that the success of this year’s team will depend on the team being healthy.

“This year’s team is contingent on no injuries and if we stay healthy, which we didn’t do last year,” he said. “We’re very competitive and we have a lot of players that can contribute on any night. We have some returners that can play at a high level.”

He explained that the difference between coaching this team and last year’s team is that he doesn’t have to teach the new players as much because the returners are helping in that aspect.

“Normally, my voice is gone within the first two weeks of pre-season and practice, but I haven’t lost my voice yet,” he said. “They’re doing a lot of the teaching for us and they’re also doing a lot of the discipline for us.

“From my vantage point this team’s chemistry is better than last year’s, and they all look like they get along and they all want to win as a team, but the true measure will be when we get a loss or something happens with the team.”

He added that he thinks that the returning sophomores will be the players that will break out this season.

The Renegades are scheduled to start their season at the three-day tournament at Cuesta on Nov. 9-11.