Richland College basketball team ready to make a postseason run this season; T-Ducks (1-1) host International Sports Federation in home-opener at 7 p.m. today

Justin Jones

Sports Information Coordinator

Richland College

 

            With 10 players returning from last year’s team, Richland College second-year head basketball coach Jon Felmet is very optimistic about his squad’s chances at postseason success this season.

            “The guys are a year experienced, stronger and quicker. After the way last season ended, these guys are more motivated to bring a conference and national championship back to Richland,” Felmet said. “The team will be fun to watch again. Fans can expect us to play hard man-to-man defense and with a lot of passion and intensity.”

            Richland (1-1), ranked No. 15 in the NJCAA Division III preseason poll, is looking to build on last season’s strong finish.

            Despite losing, 81-78, in a hard-fought game to North Lake College in the Metro Athletic Conference semifinal game, the T-Ducks finished last season winners having won five of their last seven games to finish with a 17-14 record.

            “By the way last year ended, having 10 guys returning is important because they feel like we had a good shot of winning the tournament last year and taking a trip to New York,” Felmet said. “Because we didn’t, they are working extra hard and trying to get better on a daily basis.”

            Among the 10 players returning for the T-Ducks are preseason first- and second-team All-Americans Tony Bishop and Antwan Mullins.

            Bishop averaged 14.4 points, 8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game last season while Mullins notched 14.7, 6.2 assists and 4 rebounds.

            “Tony and Antwan will need to be leaders for us but they are not our only leaders,” Felmet said. “We have a lot of different personalities and guys who lead every day in some way. I am expecting everyone to have a good season.”

            According to Felmet, Chibuzo Elonu is playing better this year, Giordan Cole is back, healthy, and has played really well in the team’s scrimmages and Keith Wright, who Felmet expects to be a more consistent shooter, will bring intensity.

            Travis Turner, who came with Felmet from Cedar Valley, has been out a couple of years and is hungry to get going, Felmet added, noting that after a red-shirt year, Harris Davee and Duane Durley are going to have good seasons and contribute.

            Meanwhile, Felmet said that Jon Jones has gotten better throughout the summer so he will give the T-Ducks some good minutes; CJ Thompson improved his shooting, but the team will need him be the same player he was last year; and the addition of Deionta Mitchell, a freshman from Milwaukee, will provide a spark off the bench with his intensity on the defensive end.

            “The difference in this year’s team versus last year’s is the maturity level of the guys. Last year we had to spend so much time getting the guys to buy into our philosophies, we didn’t spend much time on individual skills,” Felmet said. “With the addition of coach Ramiro Espinosa and coach Chris Carter putting the guys through a weight program, the guys are stronger than last year’s group.

            “This year we are able to spend more time on the offensive end of the floor, and during the scrimmages you can see a big improvement in that aspect of the game. With the returning guys, we are able to allow the freshman to watch those guys to learn how we do things defensively.”  

            After today, Richland College’s next home game isn’t until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13 against Angelina College.

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