Riverland men look to have chemistry

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Riverland's Donte Cotton goes up for a hook shot in practice in Riverland Gym Monday. The Blue Devils will open their season on the road Wednesday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The Riverland men’s basketball team is a little down on numbers, but that may be a good thing.

As a result of having just 11 players, the Blue Devils have grown closer and developed a team chemistry faster than they have in past seasons.

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“It’s been nice to see the whole team really come together,” RCC head coach Dan Swift said. “Last year we had some guys that caused some friction and we don’t have that guy this year. Practices have been fun and I’m assuming road trips will be a lot of fun because they all get a long and they do a lot of things together.”

RCC returns a few players with experience from last year’s team, including — Josh Davis, a 6-foot, five inch forward from Morrow, Georgia and Taylor Oetken, a 6-5 center from LeMars, Iowa.

“Josh is a stat filler. He’s not going to hit for thirty points, but he’ll be consistent and get rebounds. He’ll do all the little things,” Swift said. “Taylor’s put a lot of time in the weight room and he’s probably the strongest guy I’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Richard Burch, a 6-5 forward from Mableton Georgia, Chris Jahr, a 6-4 forward from Austin, and Donte Cotton, a 6-5 forward from Randallstown, also return for RCC.

So far, the veterans have done a good job of helping out the younger players.

“It’s more team influenced and we’re playing more as a team now,” said Davis. “We should have a good season. The (guys coming back from last year) just have to step in and be leaders and take advantage of our experience.”

Along with their returning veterans, the Blue Devils will have a backcourt full of junior college experience as guards Nicco Montgomery, who graduated from St. Paul Harding, and DeAaron Hearn, who is graduated from Washburn, Minn, have both transferred to RCC from Northern Iowa Community College.

“They’re both from good programs and they’re good ball players,” Swift said. “DeAaron can fill it up when he’s on. He can score a lot of points in a short period of time. It’s nice to have guards who can be point guards, that’s one thing we haven’t had is a true point guard.”

As for incoming players, RCC will look to Jordan Jarland, a 1,000 point scorer from Fillmore Central, and Denzel Smith of Kenosha, Wis. to provide a boost off the bench.“Denzel’s a guy that can provide a lot of excitement,” Swift said. “We’re not going to have a team where one guy scores twenty a night, we’ll have lot of guys in that double figure range.”

While Rochester, Central Lakes, and Fergus Falls are all big favorites to get to state — there is still a fourth spot open for RCC to go after.

“I think we’ll be able to play with anyone in the conference by the time conference hits. We’ve slowly been making steps over this last month,” Swift said. “We have a bunch of guys who know where we want to go and how to get there.”

The Blue Devils will also bring an exciting style of basketball as they look to run as much as possible.

“We’ll be getting up and down the court,” Davis said.

RCC will open its season at University of Wisconsin Richland Center Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils home opener is against Northern Iowa Community College Nov. 20 at 2 p.m..