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2005-06 Men's Season Preview

2005-06 Men's Season Preview

Grossmont head coach Doug Weber welcomes the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin anew in the 2005-06 season. Following a frustrating 2004-05 campaign that saw the Griffins finish 3-22, with six forfeits, there is reason for hope this year. The Griffins figure to be very much in the thick of things in the PCC, and are a lock to improve on last year's results. Grossmont returns three players who started last season and have added some major talent over the summer.

"The guys we have coming back are a good core group," said Weber. The coach was referring to sophomores Michael Fitzhugh, Gerred Link, Quenton Byers, Steven Collins, and Troy Valencia. Weber said that the team "feels a little bit closer, it's a good group, they get along with each other."

The Griffins will try to use their newfound quickness to push the tempo this year. The PCC is typically a half-court league Weber said, and Grossmont hopes to buck that trend.

The pace will be created by two extremely quick freshman point guards, Maurice Clady and Herbert Rivers.

Clady, the starting point guard, is able to apply tremendous on-ball pressure defensively. "Maurice has a great head for the game," said Weber. The 5-10 Clady is a product of Crawford high school in San Diego. He will also see time at the two-guard spot with Rivers at the point when Weber wants to go small and fast. "He's a great get for us, Maurice could be the best point guard in this league. I love him to death."

Rivers, 5-9, comes from Morse high in San Diego. He, like Clady is a great on-ball defender who will push the pace of a game. Rivers will be the second point guard used, and depending on matchups, will play alongside Clady, giving the Griffins tremendous speed. "He is like the Energizer bunny," Weber said of Rivers, "he never stops."

Gerred Link (6-1, 175) is an all-around athlete who also competes on the Grossmont tennis team. Link had a scholarship to Sacramento State for baseball coming out of high school. Link has moved over to the two guard spot after starting at the point for Grossmont last season.

"He has a great court sense and knows what we are trying to do," Weber said. "He has a real calming effect on us."

Anthony Newsome is a tremendous athlete who will play small forward for the Griffs. Newsome is a typical slasher, who will look to take the ball to the basket at every opportunity. "'Let's go as hard as we can,'" said Weber, is the 6-2 Newsome's philosophy on attacking the basket.

Steven Collins is a returner, who coach Weber says has a knack for scoring. This season Collins is asserting himself more on the offensive end, which pleases the coach. The 6-3 Collins suffers from Crohn's disease, but has worked hard to overcome that challenge. "He constantly has to refuel his body," Weber said. "It's a neat story that he's doing this and playing and getting over that." Crohn's is an intestinal disorder that can lead to stunted growth and ulcers along with other complications.

Casey McRoberts-Hight is a pure shooter out of Ramona high school. "Best shooter on the team, he may be the best shooter we've had at Grossmont," Weber said. McRoberts-Hight, 6-3, will be used as instant offense off the bench, and will be inserted in late game situations when the Griffs need a sure shot at the foul line.

James Haley, from Brawley high, is a player Weber described as "scary athletic." Haley will have to adjust to a new position at the community college level. He was mainly a post player in high school, but will play on the perimeter at Grossmont. "He's a perfect 3-man," said Weber. "He can shoot the three, and does a nice job posting up." Weber noted that the 6-5 Haley is a player who could work his way into the starting lineup at some point this year.

Menelik Bluitt is a blue-collar worker, whose attitude Weber adores. The Patrick Henry product did not play basketball in high school, but has made the Grossmont team. Bluitt, 6-3, will come in and work hard in practices, and his role will be defined as the season goes on. "He played with us all summer, and did everything we asked him to," Weber said.

Troy Valencia is a returner and a mainstay for the Griffs. Weber would like to see the 6-5 sophomore play a little more selfishly on offense. The talented Valencia is almost unselfish to a fault. "His natural position is that three, slash-four," Weber said. "He understands the whole picture, and he's a basketball junkie. He has all the tools and the passion."

Michael Fitzhugh is similar to Valencia, as both are sort of between positions as small forwards and power forwards. The 6-4 Fitzhugh is a big body who will attack the basket. "Michael is a bruiser of a guy, who in his mind is a point guard," Weber joked. "But to his credit he can pass well, and put it on the floor."

Quenton Byers has tasted success with Horizon high school in San Diego. The sophomore won two state titles under head coach Zack Jones. This season Weber would like to see the 6-6, 240 pound Byers play assertively under the basket. "He's just a big ol' teddy bear," Weber said of the forward. Weber envisions success for Byers, "once we get him playing aggressively."

The opposite of Byers' teddy bear image is fellow forward Matt Marshall. The 6-4 freshman is the kind of high energy player every team needs. He will come off the bench and spark the Griffs this season. "He's gonna come off the bench, and something's going to happen," said Weber. "He'll take a charge, dive for a loose ball, and fill up the box score."

Brett Allred is the Griffins main presence on the low blocks. The 6-7 freshman is coming off of knee surgery, and should get more stable and strong as the season goes on. "We can throw it to him in the low post and he can score there," Weber noted. Allred is also comfortable facing the basket, and will make defenders come out and play him because of his shooting ability.

Andrew Steudle is a post player who is not afraid to mix it up inside. He was a redshirt last season, and is ready to contribute to the team this year. The 6-4, 225 pound forward, "understands that �I'm a post guy, I need to go down there and bang and score,'" said Weber.

James Deng may have the most interesting back story of any player in Grossmont history. The 6-7 Deng hails from Sudan, and is "the sweetest nicest kid," said Weber. Deng's size and wingspan could have him playing beyond Grossmont in the near future. Deng is one of the group of refugees known as �The Lost Boys.' He was forced from his village in the Sudan, and has worked extremely hard to learn basketball, after growing up as a soccer player. "He runs, and runs, and runs," Weber said of Deng's ability to get up and down the court. This season will see Deng develop and contribute more and more as the season progresses.

Assisting Weber this season will be a new pair of coaches. Jamaal Branch and Chris O'Doherty will join coach Weber on the bench. Branch is a former college player, and U.S. Navy veteran. O'Doherty played at Grossmont under coach Weber, and is in his first season of coaching.

Last Updated: 02/03/2015
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