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HCC men getting back to basic basketball

November 01, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The starting flag is up and the Hagerstown Community College men’s basketball team is ready to start the Grand Pre.

That’s right. For the Hawks and HCC coach Barry Brown, it is Pre, not Prix.

That’s because HCC doesn’t plan on racing around as much as it has in the past. The Hawks will unveil a more basic plan to play simple, fundamental basketball with a defensive crust Wednesday when they host Northern Virginia in the season opener at 8 p.m. at HCC’s athletic complex.

But for HCC, Wednesday starts the part of a season of three Pres — preseason, pre-Christmas and pre-tournament.

“Our preseason has been great,” said Brown. “(The players have) learned a lot more about what we want to do and are buying into it. We want to keep things as simple as possible.

“We’ve had a great preseason, but it’s the PREseason. Now it’s time to get into the pre-Christmas competition.”

The early regular season will be a grind for HCC. After facing NOVA, the Hawks have two dates with Cecil along with games against Monroe and Frederick, all of which defeated HCC last season and all to be played before the Christmas break.

This edition of the Hawks is centered around athletic players with length and reach. HCC has been known as a team with a racehorse style, but this year will be different.

“You have to rebuild every year on the junior college level,” Brown said. “We have to get them to understand the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) method.

“We don’t want them taking extra dribbles, but we want them to make extra passes. If they get a good high percentage shot, take it. We want easy shots or foul shots. We don’t want any risks on defense.”

But most of all, Brown wants the Hawks to realize there are three major factors to winning.

“We need to make foul shots, play defense and rebound,” Brown said. “That’s what wins championships. If we can’t rebound, it negates all our speed and length. Hopefully we will score a lot of our points off of our defense.”

Foul shooting and rebounding were two phases of the game that failed the Hawks when they lost 79-78 to Monroe in the District 3 playoffs to end last season. It left HCC one step short of advancing to the national tournament.

Two key sophomores returning for HCC from last year are Devin Miller and Alister Chisholm, both driving forces behind the Hawks’ Region XX title run last season. Miller was the MVP of the region tournament while Chisholm became a big scoring threat during the last 12 games of the season.

“You can’t teach experience on this level,” Brown said. “No matter what the freshmen did in high school, they haven’t gone through a season here yet. Devin and Alister are important returning players because they have been through the battle before.”

Rounding out the starting lineup against NOVA will be sophomore point guard Jerel Carter and freshmen Malcolm Clark and Antonio Jenifer, who was the MVP of the 2009 Captial Classic.

“Carter is going to be one to watch,” Brown said. “He’s quick and long and causes a lot of deflections at point guard, which will help our defense. He has emerged as one of our leaders because he has something to prove after missing most of last year with a broken foot.”

After the starting five, anyone can come off of HCC’s bench at anytime, depending on the situation. The cast of thousands includes sophomore Josh Boyd and freshmen Robert Ashamole, Eddie Tarver, Kavon Pyatt, Jaylin Sharp Raymar Watson and Antwan Pittman. Others include 7-foot-3 Robel Hurui and Martinsburg product Jean Eddy Clerius.

And it all starts tonight as the Pre begins for real.

“We have to focus on what we have to do and not get caught up in all the emotion of it all,” Brown said. “All games have their runs. We just want to make sure we have more runs than the other team. We want to be as efficient as we can ... and if we can be efficient for 40 minutes by Christmas that would be great.”

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