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NEO Men's Basketball Season Preview - KOAM TV 7

NEO Men's Basketball Season Preview

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RELEASE FROM NEO ATHLETICS:

MIAMI — With only two sophomores returning from last season and two veteran transfers, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen basketball team puts the “Y” in youth, according to head coach Dustin Grover.

Last season the Golden Norse finished 8-8 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference and 16-14 on the year.

Grover and his assistants Jeremy Jackson and Javer Lewis had the opportunity to return 12 freshmen from last year’s squad. Instead, along with the four sophomores, the Golden Norsemen will have 13 first-year players at the junior college level.

“That’s fine,” Grover said. “We did that on purpose.

“After evaluating last season, we felt like we didn’t have the competitive edge we needed to win our region,” Grover said. “So we decided to go a different direction with our recruiting.

“We went out and got some players that we feel will bring us back that competitive edge,” Grover said. “We felt like we improved shooting, ball handling and athleticism that will give us a chance to win the game.

During a preseason scrimmage last weekend, Grover was pleasantly surprised by his team’s overall performance.

“We played pretty well,” Grover said. “The great thing was we played within ourselves and didn’t try to do too much.

“We also moved the ball real well and didn’t just stand around,” Grover said. “I was also pleased by the way we finished shots.

“One of our goals this season is to learn how to win consistently from the very first game until the end,” Grover said. “We want to be a good team that will beat people both early in the year and late in the year.

“Going into the first couple of games, we feel like we have enough experience to carry us through,” Grover said. “We also think our freshmen can reach their personal highs as a players because of their ability. Talent is not an issue.”

Challenging for the point-guard position in NEO’s backcourt are freshmen Josh Humphries (6-4 from Tampa, Florida), Khalil Morris (5-11 from Roland) and Jeremiah Morris (5-11 from Lakewood, Washington).

“People who say we never get any players from our high school tournament can’t say that any more,” Grover said. “Khalil played four years for Eddie Lewis and has come to our tournament every year.”

Sophomore Tyjuan Johnson (6-0 from Tulsa Washington) and redshirt freshman Thais Montgomery (5-11 from Tulsa Washington) were both with the program last season and will see playing time at the two-guard spot.

Transfer David Thornton (6-4 from Aurora, Colorado) and true freshmen Kyle Lukasiewicz (6-4 from Denver, Colorado) and Dimitri Yates (6-2 from Waterbury, Connecticut) will vie for minutes at the two-guard position. Thornton joined the Golden Norsemen after one season at Western Wyoming University.

Another transfer, Alex Taylor (6-3 from Fort Washington, Maryland) and freshman Ravel Moody (6-6 from Denver, Colorado) will share responsibilities at the wing position. Taylor sat out a couple of years after playing one season at Lincoln Trail Community College in Robinson, Illinois).

“Both these guys have the strength and agility to perpetuate some things at the defensive end,” Grover said.

Handling duties at the four position are freshman Cedric Ward (6-5 from Seguin, Texas), returnee Arkel Williams (6-6 from Hemingway, South Carolina) and freshman Jahlil Kure (6-7 from Teaneck, New Jersey).

“Because of Arkel’s ability and experience, we’ve got to find a way to keep him on the floor at all times,” Grover said. “So he will play either the four or five spot just depending on the situation.”

Providing depth along the baseline at either a four or a five are freshmen Dylan Van Eyck (6-7 from Boskoop, Netherlands) and Valentin Van Putten (6-4 from New York City).

“The talent level and our length at both the three’s and the four’s are important characteristics of this group,” Grover said. “I think they can all play multiple positions, they can all score and they are all long enough to play in our zone.”

Freshman Yuri Sena da Silva (6-11 from Campinas, Brazil) fills the middle at the five spot.

“What I like about this team is that we shoot the ball better than we have in a long time at every position,” Grover said. “The only thing about being a good shooting basketball team is if you play the guys who shoot the ball.”

NEO opens the regular season at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1, against the junior varsity of Central Baptist College of Conway, Arkansas in the NEO Field House. 

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