After four consecutive Region XIV quarterfinals appearances, Blinn College men’s basketball coach Scott Schumacher plans to continue the postseason tradition in 2017-18.
“The key to our basketball season is going to be how much our guys are willing to sacrifice for each other because we have so many players who can score in a variety of ways,” Schumacher said. “This is a special group of players because of the character that each one of these guys possess.”
With five returners and six sophomore transfers, the Buccaneers will rely on depth and experience in their quest for another successful season.
“We have five forwards that all could start, and wings that can shoot and drive the ball,” Schumacher said. “We have all the jigsaw pieces to the puzzle, and now we have to figure out how to put them all together.”
Returning for Blinn are guards Fred Tottenham (Houston), Antione Lister (Brenham), Tyrus Grayson (Junction City, Ark.), Markques Houston (Houston), and Jaylen Rhone (Texarkana).
Last season, Lister started 10 games and averaged 8.4 points per game for the Buccaneers. Tottenham competed in 20 games and averaged 1.9 points per game, and Grayson totaled 88 rebounds. Houston, who led the city of Houston in scoring his junior year of high school, delivered for Blinn with 7.1 points per game last season, while Rhone came up with two per game.
“All the returners have really good basketball IQs and played really well for us last year,” Schumacher said. “They all bring a lot of work ethic and energy each day.”
Gianni Ford (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Curtlon Wesley (Houston), Bradley George (Houston), D.J. Johnson (McAllen), Dante Williams (Arlington), and Tony Lewis (San Antonio) are all transfer sophomores who bring playing experience to the Buccaneers.
A transfer from St. Francis College, Ford is a scoring guard who earned all-city honors in Brooklyn before elevating his game to the collegiate level. Wesley, a transfer forward from the University of the Incarnate Word, is very physical with the footwork needed to score in the block. George played in every game for the University of Denver last season as a guard before transferring to Blinn, and is an all-around player with good control. Johnson transferred from McLennan Community College and brings athleticism as a 6-foot-6 forward. Williams, a transfer from Kansas State University, is a 7-foot-1 forward who will be a defensive threat with his ability to rebound and block shots. Lewis, a transfer forward from Santa Clara University, is an offensive threat with scoring and passing skills.
Schumacher also has six freshmen looking to contribute in Matt Adams (Brenham), Babacar Cisse (Montreal, Canada), Anthony Rice (Atlanta, Geo.), Ricko Bennett (Huntsville), Kae'ron Baker (Navasota), and John Brown (Magnolia).
Adams is a “jack of all trades” player who can shoot and rebound, while Cisse is a 6-foot-10 defensive player with a good work ethic. Rice is a redshirt freshman with extraordinary leadership skills and tremendous work ethic, Bennett is a redshirt freshman who can play every position, and Baker was his district’s most valuable player. Brown is a redshirt freshman transfer from Texas Tech University that stands at 7 feet and can shoot the ball from the outside.
The Buccaneers finished with an 18-14 overall record in 2016-17 and earned a spot in the Region XIV tournament. Blinn beat Lamar State College 75-65 to open the tournament, but lost to the No. 1 seed San Jacinto College-Central.
The 2017-18 season opens tonight against Lone Star College-Cy Fair at 7:30 p.m. in the P.E. Building.
“I love my team and we plan on competing every second this season,” Schumacher said.