Men's basketball to open season with San Jacinto College Classic

10.27.2013 | By Amanda L. Booren

Men's basketball to open season with San Jacinto College Classic

 

Media Contact: Amanda L. Booren
By John Bechtle, for sanjacsports.com -- October 28, 2013

 

PASADENA, Texas - It’s a fresh start all around as the San Jacinto College men’s basketball team prepares to open the 2013-2014 season by hosting the annual San Jacinto College Classic Friday, Nov. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 3 at Anders Gymnasium in Pasadena.

Scott R. Gernander, a former San Jacinto College player, is set for his first full season as head coach after taking over in an interim role last season. In all, Gernander is beginning his fifth season on staff. Assistant coach Albert Talley is back for his second season and will be joined by first-year assistant Jeff Mailhot, another former San Jacinto College basketball standout.

The relative new feel to the program also extends to the playing court, where Gernander and his aides have brought in 14 newcomers, with no returnees. In doing so, Gernander understands the upcoming season may be a work in progress, yet he’s ready for the challenge.

“We basically wanted a fresh start,” Gernander said. “We also recognize that doing so brings on some challenges. Ideally, you’d like to have a couple of returnees or leaders to show the others the San Jac way. It hasn’t been like that for us, but we’ll get to where we need to be. Every year, your leaders emerge.”

Gernander admitted on-court results have been mixed in preseason scrimmage action as each player has sought to find his role in the mix. But the head coach expects to build some momentum during the San Jacinto College Classic – featuring the hosts along with Odessa, Lone Star College-Tomball and Lone Star College-Kingwood.

The locals will take on Lone Star College-Tomball Nov. 1 at 8 p.m., before returning to face Odessa College at 4 p.m. Nov. 2 in a highly-anticipated matchup. Gernander’s team will close out the tournament Nov. 2 with a 2 p.m. contest against Lone Star College-Kingwood.

“Not to look past Lone Star-Tomball, but Odessa is a very talented and respected program,” Gernander said. “That’s going to be a challenging early test for us. We’ll definitely see where we are as a group and where we need to go.”

Gernander and his staff have spent the preseason and scrimmage portion of the schedule looking to identify the team’s five starters and  rounding out the rest of the rotation. San Jacinto College was dealt an early blow with the loss of top scoring threat Dana Raysor (Hamilton, N.J. / St. Patrick HS), who was injured in action and will miss the season.

With Raysor out, Gernander said other opportunities will come for the rest of the roster. Carrington Ward (Philadelphia, Pa. / Electrical & Technology Charter HS / Palm Beach State College), Gary Akbar (Dayton, Ohio / Dunbar HS / Midland College) and Anthony Livingston (Washington, D.C. / Stevens Prep Academy), the team’s three captains, figure to see quite a bit of play early on along with Michael Hunter (Houston / Willowridge HS), who will start at point guard.

“Over the past 10 or 11 days the starting five have basically separated themselves from the rest, but the message is clear that any spot in the rotation can change,” Gernander said. “Opportunities are created based on performance.

“The No. 1 goal is to win games, and we’ll go with the guys who give us the best chance to do that. That’s the best thing about a fresh start – everyone is on the same page and is given a chance to make something happen.”

Gernander is mindful of the storied history delivered by the men’s basketball program at San Jacinto College up to the present, which includes a national championship, many more trips to nationals and countless regional titles.

Last year’s team finished 25th nationally in the final National Junior College Athletic Association poll but missed out on nationals. The climb to get back to nationals is about to begin.

“We’re picked second on our side of the region right now,” Gernander said. “We won’t be ranked in the top 25 to open the season and shouldn’t be. But we fully expect to be in the mix at the end.”

The goal of getting to nationals and making something happen there will always resonate for the San Jacinto College men’s basketball program. The journey during 2013-2014 may take some extra time but Gernander is ready for the ride.

 

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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