By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 2, 2003 Chris DePew, coach of the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) mens basketball program, said hes looking for major contributions this season from several returning hoopsters as well as a crop of talented newcomers.
Im very pleased that six individuals decided to come back from last years team, DePew commented. They had the faith in me to return and help lead this team. They are going to be pivotal players, and I look for big things from each of them.
The SCCC Generals half dozen returnees are Keith Bussey (captain), Ellis Coleman, Dante Griggs (captain), Gary Jones, Joseph McLeod (captain) and Darren Sykes.
Putting together a junior college basketball team is a lot like baking a pie: you mix some seasoned vets with a batch of fresh talent, turn up the heat and hope for the best.
We have some real nice freshman recruits, DePew said.
Information about those freshmen and comments by DePew about their talents is as follows:
LeMichael Allen: Starting at the point guard position, he brings a lot of talent and enthusiasm to SCCC from Copaigue High School, where he was an All-Long Island Player last year.
Brings us a lot of knowledge from a very successful high school team.
Wayne Coward: the graduate of Copaigue High will take to the floor in the wing position as a back up to the three-spot.
I look forward to a lot of good things from him.
Daishawn Fowler: a Pacific High School (Brooklyn) grad, the combo guard will see a lot of time at point in addition to the two-slot.
When his offensive game gets into our system, he will see a lot of minutes.
Ghiles Jackson: the bulldog of the Generals, he is a graduate of Bishop Laughlin High School, and will fill in as backup point guard.
A short, stocky, physical player with a lot of offense tools . . . has the ability to change the tempo to our run-and-gun style of game.
John Hinton: as a graduate of Fallsburg High School, he is the only local player in recent memory to put on the green and gold uniform of the Generals.
Hes a nice pure shooter who will see time when teams are playing us in zones . . . we are looking for big things as he learns the system.
John Bervine: comes to SCCC from Amityville High School, he is trying to adapt from playing at the post out to a guard position.
[Hes] steadily improving.
John Bentley: a non-recruited walk-on from Pacific High School.
[He] showed up to practice, and has worked real hard and is very athletic.
John Frazier: a Far Rockaway High School grad, he is known as a big time leaper and post player and is just coming off a knee injury.
Lateef Hicks: graduated from Notre Dame Academy, he will take to the court as a fundamental combo guard when he becomes eligible at the end of the semester.
[He] will step up our defensive game a notch, and take us to a new level.
In the 2002-2003 season, the Generals posted a record of 26-5. This marks DePews sixth year with the local hoopsters. In addition to his duties as SCCC athletic director, he served as the teams assistant coach and took over the reins following the departure of coach Chad Beeten earlier this year.
During his six years at SCCC, the Generals have traveled three times to SUNY Delhi in search of the NJCAA brass ring at the national championship game.
Troy Nowlin, a basketball star from Monticello Central School, takes over the assistants spot on the bench this year, acting in the role of good cop to DePews bad cop.
Im the one screaming and yelling, and hes the one who keeps the team sane, DePew explained.
After Nowlin graduated from Monticello in 1984, he played hoops for a couple of months at SCCC before moving on to Mount Saint Marys and SUNY Oneonta.
Before returning to his old stomping grounds, he played throughout Europe with the UBC Munster Basketball Team, part of the European Professional Basketball Organization.
It sounds a lot like the cheese, but it was nothing like the cheese, said Nowlin, who serves as the colleges international admissions program counselor.
Kyle Walter, head coach of the SCCC Lady Generals basketball team, was appointed to the position of second assistant coach of the mens program.
I needed an extra set of eyes and ears on the bench, and this will give Kyle some experience on the mens side of things, explained DePew.
DePew said that compared to last years squad, the new team is a lot more aggressive and physical defensively.
These are kids who want to get up in somebodys face and cause a problem . . . force them to make bad passes and bad decisions on the court, and let us get into our run and gun game, he said.
The current starters are LeMichael Allen, Darren Sykes, Keith Bussey, Gary Jones and Joseph McLeod.
As the squads sixth man, Dante Griggs is waiting in the wings to spell any of the starters at the four/five spot.
Along with a beefed-up defense, DePew is counting on the three-point shooting of Allen, Hinton and Sykes to give the Generals a berth in the SCCC-hosted NJCAA Region XV Tournament (February 27-29, 2004) and hopefully the NJCAA Nationals at SUNY Delhi (March 11-13, 2004).
If we continue to improve on the basics we started out with, I think we can be a very difficult team to beat by mid-February, DePew said. But we still have a long way to go with our offensive sets.
DePew noted that a few of his hoopsters want to be showtime, while he needs them to stay focused and run the offense to earn decisive, well-balanced victories.
I keep telling them they dont play defense in the park, he said. They need to convert the street game into the college basketball game.