By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 13, 2002 The buzz phrase these days Down in the Bunker at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse about the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals mens basketball team is A Tradition of Excellence.
Considering the past 15 years, the new crop of hoopsters has some mighty big sneakers to fill. And Head Coach Chad Beeten thinks that with a little luck and some hard work they can do it.
Since 1988, the Generals have been tabbed National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XV champs 10 times: 1988-89, 1992-96, 1999 and 2001-2002.
Sullivan was runner-up at the NJCAA Nationals in 1994, 2001 and 2002.
They picked up the coveted NJCAA championship brass ring in 1992, 1995 and 96.
As a nationally recognized powerhouse since the late 1980s, the Generals are a perennial top-10 ranked team in the nation. They have competed in the national tourney eight times, the most in the history of Division III junior college basketball.
Last year, the Generals posted an overall record of 27-4 and a 19-1 record in Region XV. For the last two seasons, SCCC has hosted the Region XV championship tourney.
So what about this years team?
With the talent and depth that the new players bring, combined with the returning players from last year, we fully expect to be competing for the Region XV Championship and hopefully the national championship, said Beeten.
Beeten, now in his second year at the helm, said this years team is very athletic with the speed and agility required to give the squad depth at every position.
Assistant Coach and Athletic Director Chris DePew the guy who is known to wear a distinctive necktie featuring, you guessed it: basketballs has been at SCCC for five years. After Will Brown pulled up stakes for the greener pastures of NCAA Division I basketball, he took over as assistant of the mens basketball program shortly after being selected as athletic director.
Coach Beeten has done a fantastic job of putting together a championship caliber team for this season, he said.
My philosophy since I arrived at Sullivan has been to change the word team to program, he added.
DePew noted that he and Beeten use different ways to motivate the Generals.
Chad and I have very different coaching styles, he said. Im a screamer and a perfectionist, while he is more relaxed and laid back during a game.
Our styles compliment each other, he added.
In summing up this years Generals, DePew said the super athletes are collectively faster and taller than last seasons hoopsters.
Im looking forward to seeing what were made of this season, he said. Were very excited about this season, because we have a renewed sense of school spirit here at Sullivan.
The Generals of 2001-2002 rode to the nationals with their hearts on their sleeves.
If we can teach them the heart of last years team they loved each other and believed in each other well walk away with it, said DePew. This is a team in the making.
Coach Beetens Thumbnails of the 02-03 Generals
Nathaniel Jean-Baptiste (#00): A strong and quick point guard who can shoot the ball as well as anyone on the team.
Mikail Malik (#10): An extremely athletic guard who will be an asset in either the point or off-guard position . . . can score in a variety of different ways and despite his size, can get to the rim and finish extremely well.
Anthony Lee (#12): A combo guard that can play either point guard or off-guard . . . an extremely athletic and tenacious defensive player.
Joseph McLeod (#14): A strong and athletic power forward who may be able to play at the small forward position as well . . . one of the top leapers on the team, he has the toughness to take it to the rim on anyone.
Darius Waters (#21): The returnee from last year is one of this seasons team captains. An all-around terrific offensive player who can score from both the perimeter and the post . . . we are looking to him to be one of our leaders both on and off the court.
Dante Griggs (#23): A big strong post player who can score both facing the basket and with his back to the basket . . . a tough and relentless rebounder on both the offensive and defensive boards.
Glenn Davis (#24): One of the top athletes on the team . . . a player who can play both the post and wing position . . . shoots well from the perimeter and is a terrific slasher to the basket.
Haron Hargrave (#13): An extremely quick and athletic point guard . . . has a tremendous ability to get into the lane off the dribble and make good decisions . . . a very good shooter from the perimeter.
Wygene McCants (#32): The returnee from last years team is a team captain this season. Our sixth man on the 2001-2002 national team . . . we are looking for Wygene to be a leader both on and off court . . . [his] toughness and ability to do the little things make him one of the toughest players on both ends of the court.
Keith Bussey (#33): An extremely athletic forward who can score both in the lane and from the perimeter . . . we expect him to compete for a lot of playing time.
Dana Holmes (#34): The returning player is a team captain this year. Started in 18 games last season . . . one of the best athletes in the region as well as one of the best leapers . . . an exciting player who can change the tempo and flow of a game with his defensive capabilities and offensive explosiveness.
Garry Jones (#40): Displays a wide variety of skills on offense . . . a good athlete who is capable of playing in the post or on the perimeter both offensively and defensively.
Darren Sykes (#42): Demonstrates great skill as both a shooter and a passer . . . we are looking to Darren to be a key contributor in this seasons quest for a national championship.
Darryl Caston (#44): An athletic forward who can play both inside and outside . . . has an ability to score in a number of different ways.
Colin Rigg (#52): The graduate of Fallsburg Central School is the only Sullivan County player on the roster. A big strong athlete who will be a force to reckon with.
Doneilous King (#54): One of the hardest working players on the team . . . is always looking to improve his game . . . an athletic combo guard who can shoot very well from the perimeter.
Ellis Coleman (#55): A big strong inside player who has a lot of skills . . . has the ability to score from the post as well as stepping out and hitting short jump shots.