A new season brings new hope for the Lake Michigan College men's basketball team.
The Red Hawks finished the 2018-19 season with a 5-24 record, including a 2-16 finish in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association.
Devan Nichols (Benton Harbor) highlights a nine-man recruiting class featuring familiar area talents like Jamon Walker (Benton Harbor), Jaden Croom (Brandywine), Jumauca Golliday (Berrien Springs), and Jaden Croom (Brandywine).
Head coach Jeremy Schaeffer has made retaining area talent a high priority.
"We live in a culture where players like to go away from home and experience something different," he said. "To have a program that's able to keep that talent around is something we hang our hat on. They want to represent the county and we try to set them up for future success."
Schaeffer expects Nichols to make an impact right away. A member of Benton Harbor's 2018 state championship team, Nichols averaged 5.5 points per game for Wayne County Community College last season while shooting 41 percent from the three-point line.
Sophomores Andrew McGuirt (Buchanan), Jordan Bowman (Lakeshore), and Jaguar Jackson look to take the next step as leaders for the Red Hawks.
"Andrew was asked to score a lot in the past and is learning how to be a true point guard," Schaeffer said. "Bowman will be one of the top athletes on the floor for us. He brings excitement and energy to the table."
This season's Red Hawks squad will be more perimeter-oriented and athletic than in recent years. LMC shot just 31.7 percent from three-point range last season. Schaeffer expects shooting will be a strength.
"We have a lot of guards that can create offense both for themselves and others," he said. "We're going to be a team that shoots well. Andrew should be one of our better shooters and Nichols shot 40 percent last year."
Freshmen DeAndre Worthy (6-feet-6, 175) and Croom (6-4, 194) will bring their athleticism and versatility to the center position this season.
"We're an undersized group but we use our athleticism to work around that," Schaffer said. "We'll compete off the ground a bit. Those are things we know we'll have to adapt to. Worthy and Croom may be undersized at center but they bring a lot of skill to the table. They can score at all positions."
The Red Hawks believe they have what it takes to compete with the top teams in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association this season.
"On the basketball floor, we talk about being a team that can be top four in the conference," Schaffer said. "Big picture, we want to get there. Some of that work depends on our nonconference schedule. We made it difficult in preparation for conference play."
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