NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Fall 2014 Basketball Preview

The NECC Knights men’s basketball team begins their season in a few weeks, and excitement is building around the program this year. Although the Knights lost several players last year, a solid core of returning sophomores plan to anchor a young team with plenty of athleticism.

Ryan Grant, Parker Rogers, and Chris Corey plan to bring some veteran leadership to the relatively young Knights squad.

Chris Corey, a Knights captain this season, is excited to get the year started.

“I just want to start playing. I’ve been waiting all summer,” Corey said.

When asked about his summer preparations, Corey made it clear he is looking to make a splash this year.

“I’ve been playing more than ever this summer, anywhere I can get on the court. I’ve been really dedicated, I’m finally taking it seriously.”

Head Coach Darren Stratton says, because of the youth, the team will strive more for chemistry than anything else this year.
“I like the recruiting class we’ve brought in, we’re just looking to take things one game at a time and improve every day,” Stratton said.

The new Knights lack size, with their tallest player at roughly 6’5″. Because of that, Stratton plans to take a more up-tempo approach to the offense this season. He plans on playing an open post scheme, which focuses more on perimeter play and will showcase the Knights’ athletic ability and the open up many three-point opportunities.

With the abundance of wing players at Stratton’s disposal, the opportunities for slashing to the basket and getting points in the paint will be plentiful. If the Knights can also show the ability to team rebound, the Knights will be in it until the end.

In addition to running a wide-open offensive scheme, the Knights will be looking to do a lot of full and half court press defense. With a good press defense, the Knights would be able to put pressure on the opposing teams all the way up the floor, causing disruptions in the passing game and slowing down potential fast breaks.

The Knights will open their season Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, N.H. After that, the Knights will play nine of their next 14 games on the road, including trips to the University of Connecticut at Avery Point in Groton, Conn. and Vermont Tech in Randolph Center, Vt.
The Knights’ first home game will be 10 days later, on Nov. 11, against Gateway Community College of New Haven, Conn.

Other home games of note are a showdown with Roxbury Community College of Roxbury, Mass., whom the Knights swept in two meetings last season, on Thursday, Jan. 15, and a conference matchup with Massasoit Community College on Thursday, Feb. 5.

Practice hasn’t started yet, but the Knights had a meeting to begin the year on Monday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. in room D129 of the Sport and Fitness Center of the Haverhill campus. Twenty prospective players attended the meeting along with Stratton and Assistant Coach Joe Tardif.

The meeting was mainly an orientation to the program, with the coaches collecting physicals for players and handing out the rules for eligibility and the NJCAA Code of Conduct.

“We’re all looking for a productive, winning season and trying to build on last year,” said Chris Corey, the team captain.