The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) men's basketball team will begin the 2017-18 season Nov. 1 against Little Priest Tribal (LPA) at Winnebago, Neb.
Head coach B.J. McGinn returns four sophomores from his 2016-17 squad that was 15-16 overall and 4-8 in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC).
"We're ready to get out there and start playing," McGinn said. "I think we've got a lot of depth so we need to get out there and start figuring out some combinations."
McGinn noted that the current roster included just three players who accumulated a significant amount of playing time last season. They include sophomores Nysir Marshburn of Philadelphia, Penn., Wali Parks of Iowa City and Shammond Ivory of Perry. The other returning sophomore is Antowine Locke of Bolingbrook, Ill. Ivory and Marshburn have been nursing injuries and have seen limited playing time in preseason exhibition games.
McGinn said Locke is the projected starter at point guard with freshmen Kelvin Miller of Davenport and DeShawn Davidson of Waukegan, Ill., in backup roles. McGinn said that Ivory will also see playing time at the point.
McGinn said Parks and redshirt freshmen Lee Higgins of Chicago, Ill., will see playing time at the off guard and shooting forward positions, noting that Higgins has the potential to be one of the best three-point shooters in school history.
Freshmen Andrew Madison of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Brandon Lawn of Bolingbrook, Ill., bring height to the team, standing 6-feet-8 and 6-feet-7 respectively, as does Hamza Gocobija of Chicago, Ill., a 6-7 freshman.
"All three of those guys give us a little bit of a different dimension," McGinn said, adding that Gocobija can go outside and hit the three-point shot.
Rounding out the roster are freshmen Vinny Tarello of Bolingbrook, Ill., Drake Brewster of Cedar Rapids, Elijah Ward of Joliet, Ill., Devonta Prince of Brooklyn Center, Minn., Louis Psihoyos of Dubuque and Trevor Ross of Pleasantville.
"I think this team has the potential to be one of best defensive teams to ever play here and we've had some good ones," McGinn said. "We have a lot of length and athleticism. Ward is a high major athlete who plays above the rim. Prince is athletic and a defensive juggernaut. We've got a lot of different kinds of pieces and I think we're going to be really good defensively and a good rebounding team. We'll do a good job of not giving up points in transition and we have a lot of different ways that we can score."
McGinn said the keys for the season are to stay healthy and not give up turnovers from the point guard position.
"We have to stay healthy, but we have some depth and that really helps," McGinn said. "Our freshmen are good enough to step into some roles and I feel good about that. They've done a lot of good things."
The DMACC men's basketball team will open the home season against Southeast (Neb.) Community College Nov. 4.