Truax, Hawks tip off tonight

November 02, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

Terry Truax enters his debut as coach of the Hagerstown Community College men's basketball team feeling like a butler preparing to put a large manor on display.

He has everything neat and in its place. He's just worried about the fixtures being shiny enough.

The Hawks are the doorknobs to the future of HCC, and they will throw it all open tonight at 8 p.m. in the nightcap of the Region XX Hall of Fame Tournament.

"We are doing a lot of things right now on offense and defense, but we aren't doing anything really well," said Truax, who replaced Kenny Keyes.

For better or worse, it will be the dawning of a new era when HCC goes against Essex. The game will follow the opener between the College of Southern Maryland and CCAC/Allegheny.


For Truax, this is the latest coaching stop in a storied career in basketball, mostly on the NCAA Division I level. The Hancock native has gone full circle, coming back to Washington County to revive the HCC program.

For HCC, it will be a drastic change in style, switching from the fast-breaking, helter-skelter style of Jim Brown and Keyes over the last three decades to a more structured version of the game.

"We are as athletic as anybody we'll play," Truax said. "I think we will have a fun way to play with running and jumping and scrambling on defense, secondary breaks and a motion offense."

It's just a matter of the Hawks being ready for the prime time.

Truax warned that the Hawks will show marked improvement from Thanksgiving Day to Valentine's Day, but they have to start somewhere.

HCC has only two players returning from the 2006-07 team, including 6-foot-8 John Long, a Waynesboro (Pa.) graduate. Long was the fourth-leading rebounder nationally in junior college as a freshman.

The Hawks other starters are projected to be 6-5 Kelvin Bright, a transfer from Robert Morris, 6-1 Calvin Johnson at point guard and 6-4 Travis May in the backcourt, while Lewis Lambert will join Long in the frontcourt.

This weekend's games will be a huge gauge for Truax to see just where the Hawks stand after four weeks of preseason practice. He plans on getting playing time for the entire roster during the opening weekend.

"There are two ways to play - simplicity of execution and surprise and change," Truax said. "What we have to do is emphasize what we need to do so we don't have to do so much."

This weekend is just the starting point of the season and for the future as Truax tries to rebuild HCC into a program to watch.

"If we don't come out on top in the first couple games, I'm not going to push the panic button," Truax said. "We play to win and want to win as many games as we can, but I'm more concerned that every kid gives his best effort. The talent and ability is there to be successful."

Pascuzzo enters Hall

The Region XX Hall of Fame will welcome four new members - including 1982 Hagerstown graduate Mike Pascuzzo - on Saturday at a banquet, beginning at 6:45 p.m., in the lobby of the HCC athletic complex.

Pascuzzo is a three-time Olympic Trials high jump qualifier, who won two NJCAA indoor national championships for the Hawks. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he still owns the school's high jump record. His personal best is 7-5 1/4.

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