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PC men's basketball set for new season
Coaches who have 18 to 19 players at practice every day might find that too cumbersome. But Porterville College coach T.J. Jennings doesn’t mind having what could be considered too much of a good thing.
“It’s a lot more competitive,” said Jennings about his team’s practices as it prepares for the upcoming season. “It’s definitely been more competitive than it’s been before. That’s the big thing that we want is competition.”
Entering his fourth season as PC’s coach, Jennings said the number of players in the program represents where he wants the program to be. “I think this is the first year that we have the competition thing,” Jennings said. “We have multiple people at every position. We will play 12 players, definitely.”
PC is a young team with only one sophomore in Monache’s Miguel Perez. But Jennings said there’s no reason to believe that this team can’t at least match if not exceed last year’s team’s accomplishment. PC went 14-13 last season, posting the first winning season at the school in 11 years.
But the young Pirates will be tested right away as they will open with Yuba in the City College of San Francisco Tournament on Friday. Yuba is ranked third in the state behind No. 1 Citrus and No. 2 Fresno City. “They’re going to have to grow up quickly,” said Jennings about his young team.
Jennings will end up with about 14 to 15 players on the roster and here’s a look at this year’s players:
Joseph Yarbrough — The freshman from Hanford is a 6-2 forward who will be a key player on the press. “He’s just the consummate professional,” Jennings said.
Cameron Allen — A 5-8 guard from Bakersfield, Allen will team with Yarbrough to give PC a tandem that can really cause problems on the press, Jennings said. “I’m excited about that,” he said. About Allen, Jennings said, “He is our best defensive on the ball player. I believe he can lock down any offensive point guard in the state.”
Eric Moore — A 5-8 guard from Brooklyn, Moore’ strength is his penetration to the basket. “I don’t think anybody can stop him,” Jennings said. Jennings said Moore, who will play point guard for PC, is also an oustanding shooter.
Dominic Avila — The 6-3 guard from Tulare Western should provide PC with an outside weapon off the bench. “I can rely on him to hit shots,” Jennings said.
Juddon Carter – A 6-2 guard from Illinois, Carter will be PC’s top outside weapon. “He is a flat out shooter,” Jennings said. “He’s going to be our best shooter by far.”
Tyrone Hall — A 6-2 guard from Brooklyn, Hall should be among PC’s leading scorers. “He’s a scorer, very athletic,” Jennings said.
Michael Lopez — A redshirt freshman from Porterville High, Lopez has been in the program. Jennings said the 6-0 guard should be a key player. “I’m expecting big things out of him,” Jennings said.
Elijah Henningham — PC is small as Henningham, a 6-5 center from Tulare Western, is the tallest player on the team. “He really provides great post defense,” said Jennings, who also said Henningham should be among the team leaders in rebounds and blocked shots. “He’s an athletic force down low.”
Hill Allen — A 6-3 forward from Bakersfield, Allen will play multiple positions for PC. “He’s a team guy,” Jennings said. “He’ll do whatever it takes.”
Robert Shackelford — A 6-2 redshirt freshman forward, Shackelford has also been in the program for a year. The former Hanford West star will be another kep player on the press who should be able to “cause havoc,” Jennings said.
Kadeem McNeill — A 6-3 guard from Brooklyn, McNeill will actually be an undersized power forward and center for the Pirates. “He can do a little bit of everything,” Jenning said.
Miguel Perez — Perez is the only player returning with playing experience. “He’s got to be the leader of the team,” said Jennings about Perez, who was named to the all-Central Valley Conference freshmen team last season. Perez, a 6-1 forward, will do much of the dirty work that doesn’t show up in the stats such as setting screens and taking charges.
Robert Amaro — A 6-4 forward from Tulare Western, Jennings said Amaro is a big man who can play outside.
Willie Prince-Mata — A 5-8 guard from Monache, Jennings said Prince-Mata has worked hard to make the team and should be another outside shooting threat off the bench.