Riverland's Brandon Kowalski goes up for a dunk before a scrimmage Thursday night at the Riverland Community College gym. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

RCC men’s basketball team will be young

Published 9:35pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Riverland Community College men’s basketball team will have to grow up fast as it prepares for the upcoming season.

The Blue Devils, who went 12-14 overall last season, bring back just two players who played big minutes from last year’s team as RCC will look to a group of freshman to provide a bulk of the workload.

“We’re very young and very inexperienced,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs, who is in his second year at the helm, said. “I like our freshman class a lot and we can run a lot of stuff this year. We can run some quicks, and we’ve got three different man offenses to look at.”

Riverland returners Zach Bunch, left, and Marcus Ratliff play a little one on one before a scrimmage Thursday night the Riverland Community College gym.

The two players back from last season are Zach Bunch, a 6-2 guard from Kenosha, Wis. and Marcus Ratliff, a 5-11 guard from Kenosha.

Bunch was an All-MCAC Southern Division player last season as he averaged 14.1 points and 3.2 assists.

He’s ready to take on a leadership role with this year’s team.

“I’m one of the oldest and I feel like I’m the top dog. I’ve got to show everybody what to do as a leader should,” Bunch said. “I told (the younger guys) it’s a faster game and you won’t get the calls like you do in high school. There’s gonna be people scratching and pulling at you and you’ve got to play through it.”

Brandon Kowalski, a 6-3 guard from Mankato East, leads the freshman class as he’s shown a good shooting touch and scored at least 22 points in both of Austin’s scrimmages. The Blue Devils will also look to freshman guards Ruben Williams, who is from Kenosha, and Guillermo DeDiego, who is from Milwaukee.

“Kowalski’s a good shooter and we can’t afford to have him get hurt,” Koenigs said. “Guillermo pushes the floor and is good on defense and Ruben is a strong guy.”

The Blue Devils will also look to freshmen TJ Adams, a 6-5 center from Lonmont, Colo., Zach Hinrichs, a 6-6 center from Lake City, and Goliath Oboyo, a 6-4 guard from Austin.

“Oboyo is a good defender,” Koenigs said. “He just needs to get stronger, but he’s very active on defense and he rebounds pretty well. He’ll get a lot of playing time.”

RCC won’t get any favors from its non-conference schedule as the team has some tough contests coming up. The Blue Devils will open the season at the Minnesota West Classic Saturday at 4 p.m. and they will host NIACC Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.

“Our preseason schedule is as difficult if not more difficult than our conference schedule is,” Koenigs said. “We’ll only get better as the season goes along.”


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