The Alpena Community College men's basketball team seems poised to make its mark this year on the Michigan Community College Athletic Association's Eastern Conference.
With a diverse selection of players, coach Frank McCourt hopes to meet a few goals.
"Our big goal is to win the Eastern Conference. We also always have the goal of going over .500," McCourt said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
The 2012-2013 Alpena Community College men’s basketball team is: front row (left to right): Randy Wenzel, Shane Hentkowski, Logan Jenkins, Kharri Dailey, Josh O’Connor, Lavario Smith, David Withey and Jarod Jones. Back row (left to right): Justin MacGregor, Cory Lamp, Sean Berryman, Jake Strong, Chris Calvin, Mujahhedn “Mookie” Mustafaa, Logan Wickert and William Gates, Jr.
The Lumberjacks will have a great chance to prove themselves today and Saturday as they open the season with the East/West Classic. ACC hosts this tournament every four years against St. Clair County Community College, Kalamazoo Valley and Muskegon Community College.
ACC plays tonight at 8:00 p.m. against Kalamazoo Valley and on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Muskegon.
The Lumberjacks have five Alpena players on the team this season. Freshmen Cory Lamp, Randy Wenzel and Justin McGregor debut on the ACC basketball team this year as does sophomore Sean Berryman. Sophomore Jake Strong returns from last year when he saw some time in the Lumberjacks' starting lineup.
Alpena Community College
Last year: 11-17, 8th place in MCCAA Eastern Conference
Returning Players: 3
First game: tonight at 8 p.m. at home vs. Kalamazoo Valley in East/West
The local talent is rounded out by sophomore Shane Hentkowski from Posen. Hentkowski and Strong are the co-captains of the team.
"I wanted to go with players that had played for me before and whom I knew were solid and dependable," he said.
The ACC team only has four sophomores, including Lavario Smith from Saginaw. The rest of the team is made up of freshmen, a point that McCourt noted, but didn't believe this would be a huge problem for the team to overcome.
"(Their youth) is definitely a weakness but these boys are intense and I think that will help them to overcome that and stay competitive," he said.
McCourt in particular pointed out freshman Kharri Dailey of Toledo as a player that should do well this year.
"He's really fast and he's got a great shot," he said.
Dailey is only 5-5 but is likely to fit in well at the less height dependent point guard position that McCourt predicts he will play.
McCourt also pointed out Mujahhedn Mustafaa of Toledo, affectionately known as "Mookie" by his teammates, as a player to watch. Mustafaa is likely to find time as a forward this year.
Though starters have not been named, Dailey is listed as a guard as are David Withey, Logan Wickert, William Gates Jr, Josh O'Connor, Smith, Wenzel, MacGregor, Logan Jenkins, Jarod Jones and Hentkowski.
Listed forwards include Wickert, Gates, Berryman, Smith, Lamp, MacGregor, Strong and Chris Calvin. Centers include Berryman and Strong.
McCourt is excited about the chance to show off his young and eager new team tonight.
"It's great to host and its great to have the hometown advantage. ACC has the biggest basketball crowds in the state and it always gets the boys going to have that many people cheering them on," he said.