2012-13 Michigan Junior College Basketball Preview: Alpena must replace do-it-all foursome from last season
October 29, 2012 in JUCO
It’s hard to believe, but college basketball season is almost here. This week, we’ll preview Michigan’s 19 junior college teams.
At a glance
- Coach: Frank McCourt, 45th season
- Last year: 11-17, 6-12 MCCAA
- Conference: Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA)
- Key losses: Devon Elder, Jimmie Davis, Derek Hearn Jr., Lau’ren Jones
- Key additions: (freshmen) David Withey, Jarod Jones, Kharri Dailey, Logan Wickert, William Gates, Josh O’Connor, Cory Lamp, Randy Wenzel, Justin MacGregor, Mujahhedn Mustafaa, Logan Jenkins, Chris Calvin; (sophomores) Sean Berryman, Lavario Smith
- Team website
- Alpena C.C. news on BallinMichigan
Massive turnover is a common bond all JUCO teams, good ones and bad ones, share. Alpena is no different his season, with an almost brand new roster. The Lumberjacks have, however, had unprecedented coaching stability with McCourt entering his 45th season as the team’s coach.
Stationed in the top of the mitten, Alpena faces recruiting challenges that other JUCOs closer to big cities in southern Michigan don’t. Many of the team’s recruits come from smaller up north high schools or they are role players on the bigger high school teams down south.
This season, the Lumberjacks have two returning players in Shane Hentkowski and Jake Strong. Both were reserves last season, averaging a combined four points per game. Strong, who is 6-foot-6, should give the team some size inside along with Berryman, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who didn’t play for Alpena last season. Another sophomore who didn’t play for Alpena last season, Smith, could also push for minutes immediately.
Beyond that, Alpena will be looking for players to emerge from a big, 12-person freshman class.
The team loses its top four players from last season who accounted for a significant portion of the team’s production. Elder, Davis, Hearn and Jones combined to average 54 points per game last season, nearly 75 percent of the team’s total offensive output. Hearn also led the team in assists and Elder led the team in rebounding at 9.5 per game.
The team was not a great 3-point shooting team last season, something that hopefully the new group of players can improve on this season. Without much size inside, Alpena will need to be able to hit shots from the perimeter if the team is going to be competitive.
Circle these dates …
- Jan. 7 and Feb. 4 — Alpena finished two games out of qualifying for the district last season. One of the teams to finish two games in front of them was St. Clair. Alpena will get two chances to show whether they’ve closed or furthered the gap with the Skippers.
- Jan. 9 and Feb. 6 — Delta was the other team to get into the district by two games. Alpena will face Delta and St. Clair in back-to-back games in January and February. Those four games will go a long way in determining how competitive the Lumberjacks are this season.
Alpena had a tough time competing in the conference last season as is. Without the four best players from that team, this is likely a rebuilding year for the Lumberjacks.