The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) men's basketball team will host the William Penn University junior varsity in its season opener November 1 inside the DMACC gymnasium.
Former DMACC assistant coach John Bowler takes over the head coaching position this season from former head coach B.J. McGinn, who stepped down to devote his time to being the school's athletics director. McGinn directed the Bears to a 17-13 record last season, including a 3-9 mark in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC).
"I think we have a very high ceiling," Bowler said. "We have a lot of talent and the biggest thing will be if we can keep our chemistry together."
Bowler said he likes what he has seen in the preseason exhibition games and his optimistic about the season, given that the Bears have received votes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II preseason poll.
"We've played well in our exhibitions and I think we've got a chance to be pretty good," Bowler said.
The roster includes nine sophomores and eight freshmen. Sophomores include DeShawn Davidson of Waukegan, Ill., Devonte Prince of Brooklyn Center, Minn., Dyllan Robinson of Las Vegas, Nev., Ray Miller of Davenport, Zaire Swaby of Brooklyn, N.Y., Quinton Taylor of Cedar Point, Texas, Louis Psihoyos of Dubuque, Andrew Madison of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Theron Sanders of Kansas City, Kan.
Davidson is slated to begin the season at point guard with freshman Tray Buchanan of East Moline, Ill., opening at off guard.
"Those two will probably be two of our best scorers," Bowler said.
Prince will open at small forward and Robinson will go at power forward. Bowler said Madison and Swaby will alternate at center.
"Both of those guys will dominate the minutes at that position," Bowler said.
Role players coming off the bench include freshman Zach Lester of Clear Lake, redshirt freshman Vinny Tarello of Bolingbrook, Ill., and Miller. Lester was the No. 2 scorer in the state last season as a high school senior and averaged 30 points a game for the Lions.
Bowler said he likes his team's mental toughness and physicality.
"The guys really do a good job of competing every day," Bowler said. "They bring a level of toughness we potentially haven't had for a couple of years."
Bowler's concerns include the ability to shoot three-pointers with consistency.
"We've done a really good job of it so far," Bowler said, adding that Tarello, arguably the team's best three-point shooter has been nursing an a knee injury and won't be available for a couple of week.
"The other concern is our chemistry. The more we can play together and compete together, the better it will be. This is a team that, if they do their job, I think we can compete for a long time."