HIGH HOPES FOR 2009-2010 SEWARD SQUAD
Expectations weren’t high at all in 2007-08 when the Seward County Men’s Basketball team finished third at the NJCAA National Tournament and weren’t a whole lot higher last season when the Saints started play. This season the same cannot be said however. The Saints open the season ranked as high as 5th in some publications and are picked to win the conference by their peers as released at the Jayhawk Conference Basketball Media Day. Seward is led by arguably the best returning group of sophomores in the country as the Saints bring back over 70% of their scoring on a team who finished 2nd in the region a season ago putting up over 85 points per contest on the scoreboard. Latiq Agard, Tony Smith, Marcus James, Jon Tassin, and Robert Sigala lead a Seward bunch that finished 23-9 last season. Latiq Agard returns from a season ending knee injury as a preseason 2nd Team All-American following a year in which he led the conference in scoring at 21.5 points a game as well as ripping down 7.1 rebounds and shooting 66% from the floor in 14 games. Tony Smith, a 5th Team preseason All-American pick from Sporting News Magazine, comes back to run the point after dazzling onlookers last season with 14 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals per contest as a freshman. Marcus James high wire act will be on main stage in the Greenhouse again this season following an All-Conference freshman year in which he averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game including a 29 point 14 rebound affair against Dodge City midway through the season. Jon Tassin has grown in size and grown in ability in the offseason and gives Seward Head Coach Bryan Zollinger a dynamic wing player on the outside. Last season Tassin put up 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds a game and impressed as an on-ball defender at 6’8 with over 2 steals per game. A fan favorite, Robert Sigala will hope to build on a solid end of the 2008-09 season in which he started the final 5 games for the Saints including both Region VI Tournament games. He averaged just 3.1 points and 1.8 assists as a freshman but fans can expect that number to vault this season as a sophomore. Seven newcomers will see their first action in the green and white this season including sophomore transfer Donte McCarter and freshman Isaiah Thaw, Spencer Moore, Marky Nolen, Alex Sturanovic, Chris Chaney, and Kevin Livingston. Donte McCarter transfers to Seward County from Pitt CC in North Carolina where he averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman. Isaiah Thaw from Newton High School brings an athletic player to the Saints who should be able to cause havoc on opposing offenses throughout the course of the year. Spencer Moore out of Highland Park High School in Topeka brings a wealth of success at the prep level to Seward County after winning a pair of state championships that hopefully translates into success at the college level here as a Saint. Marky Nolen heads out West from Wichita South High School where he was a dual sport athlete staring in both basketball and football. Nolen is regarded by Head Coach Bryan Zollinger as one of the fiercest competitors he has ever coached and will be looked upon early to contribute quality minutes when the ball is dropped this weekend. Alex Sturanovic is the tallest player on the Saints roster at 6’11 and should help take some of the load of big man Latiq Agard this season. While almost seven foot, Sturanovic has the ability to step outside and knock down a jump shot as well as score in the paint which gives the Saints another versatile look on their roster. Chris Chaney will join the Saints backcourt this season after redshirting a season ago. Chaney gives the Saints some all important depth at the guard position and should get a chance to earn some minutes early in the season. Kevin Livingston remains in Liberal to play for the Saints after being named the WAC Most Valuable Player last season as a senior at Liberal High. Livingston brings an athletic body and some quickness to go along with his size at the guard position and will look to win playing time in a crowded backcourt this season.
The Saints open up their season Friday at 8:00 in the Pepsi Classic against the Colorado Kings before squaring off with Hesston College Saturday night at 8:00. Free tickets for this weekend’s tournament can be found at both Liberal Pizza Hut locations, both Hutch’s, both Express Lanes, and at First National Bank courtesy of Pepsi. If you can’t make it to the Greenhouse this weekend you can check the Saints homepage at www.scccsaints.com for box scores, stats, twitter updates and more.