MEN BASKETBALL: Dons face adversity before the season starts.
The Dons basketball team has tempered expectations after an exodus of upper classmen, a lack of height and a key injury.
“We lost our best player, Chad Young, to a torn ACL in the first week of school,” Head Coach David Breig said.
Young tore his left ACL on a jumpstop during practice. He had surgery about a month ago, and is expected to recover in six months.
Injuries weren’t the only preseason problem for the Dons. Academics were another affliction.
“We lost two post players to grades,” Breig said. “That is two starters gone.”
One of the two lost is 6-foot-5-inch Kashif Williams, who put up multiple 20-point performances, and in one also grabbed 20 rebounds.
“He has to be serious about being a student first and an athlete second,” Breig said.
But adversity has united the team.
“Instead of bickering over playing minutes this season, we are rooting for each other to succeed,” the sophomore Barrios said.
Ramirez started every game at point guard for the Dons last season. His experience and leadership has made him the de facto team captain.
“It is different, but now I understand the junior college game,” Ramirez said.
The team plans to play a fast-tempo offense, with an emphasis on the center setting screens near the three-point line.
“We want to bring the other teams’ big guys to the perimeter,” Breig said.
The Dons’ will have to run a full-court press, leading to turnovers and quick transition points.
“We have a good defensive team,” Ramirez said.
With the absence of Young and Williams, Miller’s role has expanded. As a freshman, Miller was a part-time starter, but spent a lot of the season coming off the bench.
“Over the summer I developed more of an attacking game to go along with my shot,” Miller said. “Last year I was a one-dimensional player.”