Versatility driving force for ACCC men

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Members of the 2009-2010 Allen County Community College men’s basketball team are (left to right), front row, DeAndra Harris, Andra Bailey, Anthony Clagett, Emmitt Emery, Aaron Jackson, Gavin Cole; back row, Greg Hayes, Keevis Tukes, Eric Law, Chris Lee, Dennis Rumph, Brantrel Graham, Nick Taylor.

Starting a new season with the first six games at home is a good thing.
Allen County Community College’s men open the 2009-2010 Tuesday at home against Haskell College’s junior varsity. Then Hutchinson and State Fair come to town Nov. 10 and Nov. 13.
The Red Devil lineup offers experience with five returning sophomores and plenty of versatility. ACCC head coach Mike Hayes said the plan is to use the team’s perimeter shooting prowess to extend defenses then let the big guys go to work inside.
“I really like the versatility we have. We can go with a big lineup on the court or go quick with smaller players. We have that option this year,” Hayes said. “We have a lot of weapons offensively and we have a tough defensive team.”
The Red Devils were 13-18 overall last year. They finished 8-10 in Jayhawk Eastern Division play, which was sixth.
In the recent Jayhawk East coaches’ preseason poll, the Red Devils are picked sixth again this year. Coffeyville is the preseason favorite in the East.
“The Jayhawk East as good from 1 to 10 as it has been for a long time. No team is going to run away with the conference,” Hayes said. “Night in and night out, you have to show up to play or you are going to be beaten. It’s a very balanced conference and I like our chances to do well this year.”
How quickly the players mesh as a unit is a determining factor, Hayes said. The Red Devils have depth as a strength with nine to 10 players rotating in during the game.
“That’s why Coffeyville is good each year. We have that potential for good rotations.”
Each one of the five returning sophomores bring quite a bit to the floor for the Red Devils.
The top scorer back is 6-4 forward Andra Bailey, who was second on the team last year with 300 points. Bailey led ACCC in rebounds with 348 and in steals with 52.
“Andra finished second in the region in rebounding last year. He has worked hard on his ball handling skills. He is very strong and physical and can play every position but point guard,” Hayes said.
Bailey shot 62 percent from the field and 57 percent from the free-throw line a year ago. He also dished out 63 assists and blocked 30 shots.
Anthony Clagett is the Red Devils’ 6-1 point guard who led the team in assists, 84, last year and second in steals, 50. Clagett scored 268 points, shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 59 percent from the line.
“Anthony was a very solid point guard last year. He has been working on his shooting range to develop into more of a scorer. He distributes the ball well and can drive to the basket. He is a very good on-the-ball defender,” Hayes said.
Two of the top three-point shooters back are 5-11 Aaron Jackson and 6-4 Greg Hayes. Both hit 38 three-pointers last year shooting better than 35 percent from long range. Jackson scored 225 points and Hayes had 187 points.
Jackson was third in assists with 68 and had 16 steals. Hayes shot 70 percent from the free-throw line.
“Aaron is a very good three-point shooter and can play the point. He has really played well in our preseason scrimmages,” Hayes said. “Greg, with his size, creates mismatches on the perimeter. He has lifted a lot this summer to get stronger.”
Gavin Cole, 6-2, also is capable of shooting the three-pointer. Hayes said Cole is steady and reliable on the court. “He does whatever we need him to do. He has a great work ethic and did a good job coming off the bench last year.”
Brantrell Graham, a 6-5 forward from Wichita, was at ACCC last year but was a transfer from Colby Community College. Hayes said Graham is long and athletic with quickness. He will be expected to rebound and play solid defense.
Chris Lee is a 6-6 sophomore transfer from East Field Community College in Texas. Lee, who is from Dallas, Texas, is a “very superior athlete who runs the floor well at his size and jumps. He even handles the ball and can play facing the basket. Chris can step out and shoot the three or take it to the hole and dunk it.”
Dennis Rumph is a transfer sophomore from Palm Beach Community College near his home of Boynton, Fla. Rumph is 6-10 and a “big body” inside for ACCC.
“Dennis is our low block guy who can defend, block shots and is a good presence in and around the basket,” Hayes said.
Freshmen in the mix are 6-3 Keevis Tukes of Orlando, Fla., 6-5 Erik Law of Houston, Texas, 6-2 Emmitt Emery of Baltimore, Md., 6-2 DeAndre Harris of Kansas City, Kan., and 6-5 Nick Taylor of Oklahoma City, Okla.
Hayes said Tukes is versatile enough to play almost anywhere on the floor. Tukes handles the ball well, drives to the basket and shoot from outside.
“Keevis sees the floor well,” Hayes said. “Now, Erik Law is our Charles Barkley type of player — a big strong body who moves well on the court and can penetrate to the basket. His quickness and size will create mismatches.”
Emery is a combination guard who handles the ball well and is aggressive at the defensive end. Hayes said Emery might be red-shirted this season. That decision is pending.
Harris is athletic and a wing player who can shoot the three to help stretch defenses. Hayes said Harris is a big part of the depth Allen County has this season.
Taylor has been out of high school for three years but kept playing basketball to stay sharp. Hayes said Taylor is one of the best jumpers on the team and is quick and athletic playing the small forward.
Frank Gaskins, a 6-8 sophomore, is back at ACCC but decided to sit out this season to catch up academically, Hayes said.
“Our experience is a factor and our overall team speed and quickness. We’re still not all that big but our big guys can battle inside, run the floor, defend and score,” Hayes said.
“We need to stay healthy. Right now, we’re not sure about Chris and Dennis. Both have been sidelined with injuries and we’re evaluating them again this week.”
The plan wasn’t to have six straight home games to start the season but Hayes will take it.
“We like to spread things around but we’re looking forward to playing at home and getting off to a good start.”
Allen County Community College

Men’s Basketball
2009-2010 Schedule

Nov. 3 — Haskell JV, 7 p.m.
Nov. 10 — Hutchinson, 8 p.m.
Nov. 13 — State Fair, 8 p.m.
Nov. 14 — Northeast Oklahoma College-Enid, 8 p.m.
Nov. 16 — Bacone JV, 8 p.m.
Nov. 19 — Ottawa JV, 7 p.m.

Nov. 20 — Penn Valley, 7 p.m.
Nov. 24 — Hutchinson, 7 p.m.
Dec. 2 — Johnson County, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5 — Cowley County, 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 — Penn Valley, 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 — NEO, Coffeyville, 9 a.m.
Jan. 10 — Cloud County, Coffeyville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 13 — Fort Scott, 8 p.m.
Jan. 16 — Highland, 8 p.m.

Jan. 18 — Kansas City, Kan., 8 p.m.
Jan. 20 — Neosho County, 8 p.m.
Jan. 23 — Coffeyville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 — Labette, 8 p.m.
Jan. 30 — Independence, 8 p.m.
Feb. 1 — Johnson County, 8 p.m.
Feb. 3 — Cowley County, 8 p.m.

Feb. 6 — Fort Scott, 4 p.m.
Feb. 10 — Highland, 7 p.m.
Feb. 13 — Kansas City, Kan., 8 p.m.
Feb. 17 — Neosho County, 8 p.m.
Feb. 20 — Coffeyville, 8 p.m.
Feb. 24 — Labette, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 27 — Independence, 8 p.m.
Home gams in bold.