BCC has depth for a promising basketball season

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By Michael Paul, Sports Editor

 BOLIVIA — Having signed seven players from the last year’s Brunswick Community College men’s basketball team to four-year colleges, coach Walter Shaw faced a year of rebuilding and low expectations.

Despite the turnover, Shaw anticipates an exciting 2013-14 season for the Dolphins. 

BCC plays its first home game at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center gym against South Carolina Sports Academy.

“People will see an extremely deep team,” Shaw said. “It is very, very talented. It is probably one of the most talented teams that we’ve had in here — and we’ve had a lot of talent. This team is pretty good from top to bottom.

“It’s going to be the little things that determine our success. It won’t be a lack of talent. Will they stay together as a unit? Will guys sacrifice for the betterment of the team? Is everybody doing well academically? Things of that nature. Because as far as basketball talent, we’re pretty good.”

Last year, BCC fell one victory short of advancing to the NJCAA national tournament, losing at Spartanburg-Methodist (which went on to finish third in the tourney).

BCC averaged 80.2 points a game but loses leading scorers Lattrell Royster (16.8 points a game) and Quinton Morrow (17.3 points a game). Morrow is at Queens University.

The team also loses its two best players in assists and steals: Darrion Eastmon (2.2 steals and 3.5 assists per game) and Morrow (2.0 steals and 3.0 assists per game). Eastmon is at South Carolina State University.

“There is going to be turnover,” Shaw said about his sophomores. “Our job is to get them turned over to the right place.”

Cam Jones, who has committed to Radford, returns. He averaged 11.4 points a game, third best for BCC.

Montez Loman also returns. He averaged 6.2 points a game and was its second-best rebounder (6.2) on a team that averaged 35.8 rebounds per game.

Also returning is Anthony Williams, who played in 26 games but started one game and averaged 1.5 points a game. Williams (6-foot-8, 250 pounds) has recovered from ACL surgery.

“People can look forward to a much-improved Anthony Williams,” Shaw said.

Those three players along with red-shirted players and transfers give BCC a deep, talented team, Shaw said.

One of the transfers is Nik Brown, a 6-3, 200-pound point guard from Ashburn, Va.

He averaged 9 points a game at Division I Longwood University before illness shortened his season, Shaw said, and has already committed to UNC Wilmington.

Another transfer is Keynan Pittman, a 6-10, 225-pound center from Pender High School, where he played in a NCHSAA state championship game two years ago. He signed with James Madison University and was red-shirted. He left JMU and attended a junior college in Mississippi, where he has family.

“He then realized he needed to be back closer to home,” Shaw, “so he’ll be a red-shirt sophomore.

“We expect him to be one of the better big guys in the country.

Shaw realizes he is fortunate to be coaching Williams and Pittman.

“I’m happy to have them,” Shaw said. “I would have never thought two years ago, that two of the better big guys in the area that I’d have a chance to coach either of them. Now I have a chance to coach both of them.”

Two other transfers are Jerran Foster, a 5-9, 180-pound point guard from Winston-Salem, and Mitchell Oates, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound point guard from Greensboro.

Foster had committed after high school to Winthrop University but enrolled at the College of Southern Idaho before transferring to BCC. He red-shirted last year.

Oates is a High Point Christian graduate and was an all-conference player at Hillsboro (Fla.) Community College. He sat out last year.

“We are really deep at point guard with Nik, Jerran and Mitchell,” Shaw said.

Another player who red-shirted last year is West Brunswick graduate Taylor Buffkin.

“People will be very surprised at how good Taylor Buffkin now is,” Shaw said.

Adding depth at guard is Shaun Abraham, who played two years ago on New Hanover’s state championship team, and Lawson Ahrens, of Wilmington, who sat out last year.

Corey Moore is a 6-foot- 4, 185-pound sophomore guard from Marion, S.C., who was red-shirted last year after transferring from Pensacola (Fla.) Christian.

“He is a great, all-around solid athlete, ” Shaw said. “He was Student of the Month (in September).”

Three other players are freshman guard Kalil Stuart, of Durham; 6-foot-5 freshman guard/forward JacQues Chambers, of Maysville; and 6-foot-7 freshman forward Chris Pompey, of Lexington.

“They’re three talented young men,” Shaw said. They all bring something different. What they do bring is skill and athleticism. Add that to what we’re doing and we’ll be fun to watch.”

With so many new players on the roster, it is too early to know who will stand out game after game.

“Going into this year, we really don’t know who is going to be the (go-to) guy on any night,” Shaw said.

He’ll know by March 6-8, when BCC hosts the NJCAA Region/District 10 Tournament, the qualifier for the national tournament.


Fundraising needed

Shaw is not only coaching basketball coach but also raising funds for the program.

“We need to raise between $15,000 and $20,000,” Shaw said.

This is not new for the program. Shaw also had to raise funds last year and was aided by community benefactors.

But a new year brings the same needs. The schedule has been designed to have games as close to home as possible. BCC is able to participate Dec. 6-7 in the prestigious Panhandle Shootout in Florida only because the tournament helps cover expenses.

“They’ve given us a $2,000 guarantee, which will pay for our meals, and given us 11 hotel rooms for three nights. Basically, they’re paying for our trip.

“While we are worried about whether we can play home games, there are people we play against who do not have this issue.”

“Both teams that we will play down there (Northwest Florida St. and Chipola College) will probably be preseason top five (in national rank).”

Last year, Shaw said, “It was cheaper for us to go down there than to play two home games. We actually made $800 on the trip. To me, that was a fundraiser. The only thing it cost us was time. And we got some exposure by playing some of the best teams in the country.”

Shaw appreciates all those who support the program.

“Our support has been in waves,” he said. “It’s come, it’s gone. It’s come, it’s gone. Hopefully, it is on the upswing to stay.”


2013-14 schedule

BCC has 15 home games and 15 away games.

One of the highlights is the annual BCC Holiday Classic Dec. 19-21. BCC will play Harford (Md.) Community College, Wallace State Community College and Caldwell Community College. All games are at 8 p.m. at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center gym and are last of three games on each of those days.

This is the first time WSCC is in the tourney. Shaw said the coach as ties to North Carolina, as do some of the players.

Another highlighted stretch is in mid-January, when BCC plays Cape Fear at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at BCC and plays at 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at Spartanburg Methodist. 

The schedule is at gobccsports.com.