Men’s basketball: Blue Devils have sights set success
Published 7:15 pm Thursday, November 10, 2016
The Riverland Community College men’s basketball team showed it can compete with the best teams the MCAC has to offer down the stretch last season, and they’re hoping they can keep that going.
The Blue Devils, who went 10-17 overall last year, bring back seven players with NJCAA experience and they also have a big incoming freshman class. RCC head coach Derek Hahn said his team is hoping to make a push for the Division III NJCAA Regional tournament.
“The goal every year is to make the tournament,” Hahn said. “We bring in guys that have to be ready to go right away. Last year we had some issues with chemistry early on, but we fixed that and we beat some really good teams. We were happy with how last year ended, but it’s a learning experience and we’ve got to play better at the beginning of the year.”
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The Blue Devils will start three sophomores this season — Darius Bell of Bloomington, Marcus Wynn, who is from Norway, and Donte Makazu, who is from Canada. RCC will also look to freshman Junior Stone, a Richfield grad, and freshman Jace Klinker, a Woodbury grad, to chip in.
Bell, who averaged 11 points per game last season, said the team picked up a lot of momentum at the end of last season and they’re hoping to keep it up.
“We learned that we’ve got to be more consistent in practice and we’ve got to play together as a team,” Bell said. “Once we have a good week of practice and it translates to the game, it makes us want to go harder in practice.”
RCC is hoping to have a bigger outside shooting threat with its first year players this season and Wynn also stepped up behind the three-point line last year.
“Marcus was a late bloomer for us last year,” Hahn said. “We brought in a lot of guys who are good shooters and we’re hoping to get them going.”
Makuza said the key for RCC this season will be how much effort the Blue Devils can give on a daily basis.
“We’ve just got to keep going hard in practice and have it carry over to the games,” Makuza said.
RCC will open its regular season vs. Dordt College JV in Worthington 4 p.m. Saturday. The Blue Devils will host Gustavus JV in their home opener 1 p.m. Nov. 19.