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Hawks hope to make their point with green recruit

October 27, 2000

Hawks hope to make their point with green recruit



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown Community College basketball team is out to make a point this season.

And his name is Eric Branham.

Branham is the point - point guard, that is - that might be the difference between a much improved HCC team and one that wallows around .500. And Branham believes he can make a difference.

But more importantly, so do his teammates.

"Eric is a great point guard," said returning shooting guard Corey Tabron. "Everything this team does starts with him. If he can do what he's supposed to, that will open up the game for me and the rest of the team more."

Branham got a preliminary taste of the task at hand Friday when he led HCC through its annual

Green and White scrimmage. He showed some of his abilities to Hawks' fan in the White's 64-53 win.

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When the real season starts next Friday against the Swedish National Team, the redshirt sophomore will totally have to take over on the floor it the Hawks plan on improving over last year's season of indecision.

"I have to step up to the challenge," Branham said. "We have a nice size team, but we aren't a tall team. We are going to have to depend on our quickness to beat teams."

Unlike some of HCC's more recent teams, the Hawks don't have a dominating center to establish in the middle. Instead, it will be depending on the speed, shooting and defense of the frontcourt to get the job done.

The plan puts much more pressure on Branham, who not only runs the offense, but has to spearhead the defense.

"I can't carry the team, but I can help to get them there," he said. "It is a leadership role. I have to do what it takes to get along with everyone and to be the coach on the court. I have to do what it takes to keep everyone on the floor happy."

With the wheeling-dealing style the Hawks seem to be adapting, outside shooting and strong defense will be very important in order to make up for any lack of rebounding.

"We have guys who can go and get the rebounds, but they aren't as big as they have been in the past," Tabron said. "This year we are a lot quicker and faster and we have a lot of guys who can shoot on the wing. In high school, you can get by with one player. In junior college, you need more than on player to win and you have a lot more to use."

The Hawks displayed some of that talent at the free scrimmage as Brandon DeShields scored 16 and Bayi Hanby added 15 for the White. Brian Showers and Crutchfield scored 10 each for the Green.

The Hawks were able to prove the physical talent was there. Now it's a case of if the mental talent is equal to the task.

"We want to do better than we did last year," Tabron said. "We are not going to let up when we get behind. This year we have some good people who want to work hard. This team can go far.

"But we have to show it with our actions on the court."

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