The Ellsworth Community College men's basketball team has already jump-started its season with two jamborees in October. With those six games under their belt, the team is looking to run the fast-paced game that it has in the past. The coaching staff is feeling good about this year's prospects.
"This is a very unselfish group of guys," says ECC Head Men's Basketball Coach Troy Muilenburg. "They have developed as a team since they arrived on campus, and they know what is needed to make things work."
ECC has Darius Fuller (Cedar Rapids, IA) and Yach Deng (Storm Lake, IA) returning from last year to help lead the team. Both players had quite a bit of time on the floor last year. "During practices these guys have really been stepping up to let the incoming guys know what is expected of them. They know the drills and the concepts, so they are able to help guide the others," said Coach Muilenburg.
In addition to the sophomores, transfers Josh Bagley (Ackley, IA), who transferred from NIACC, and Myzeah Batie-Gaddy (Iowa City, IA), who transferred from Kirkwood, are bringing some experience to the Panthers. "They have played in this league and know what to expect. They have the game experience that will really help us."
The freshman class includes 11 players for the Panthers. Keeon Johnson and Tony Johnson (Cedar Falls, IA) will bring a lot of court understanding to the game. Maurice Arrington (Cedar Rapids, IA) played post in high school but is now playing some inside and outside for the Panthers. Michael Evans and Octavious O'Large (Davenport, IA) will add some added depth to the team at the forward and post positions. Trey Christopher (Greensboro, GA) brings added depth to the guard court for ECC.
"The team has been working hard together and is really improving," says Coach Muilenburg. "We need to make our defense and rebounding a priority as a team. We show flashes of what we are capable of, but this needs to be an all the time thing."
The Panthers will be on the road for their first five games starting with Nov. 6 at NIACC against Pure Prep with a tip-off time of 4 pm. Their first home game will be on Nov. 17 against William Penn JV with tip-off at 7:30 pm.