Men’s basketball looks for leader2 min read

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La Voz file photo

Men’s basketball head coach Jason Damjanovic.

Rajvir Kaur, Staff Writer

The 2013-14 De Anza College men’s basketball team consists of five sophomores and 10 freshmen.

“The energy has been very good thus far,” said head coach Jason Damjanovic. “The guys are excited to play. But there a lot of questions that remain to be answered, given the number of new faces.”

He said he believes that because of the youth of the team, they are in search of leadership. Since last year’s team leaders transferred or graduated, there is no concrete leadership to guide the team this season.

But, despite the lack of team captains, Damjanovic and his assistant coaches Phillip White and Chris Malloy said they are certain that leaders will emerge.

Damjanovic said versatility and depth is a team strength, as well as team chemistry.

“[The players] have a good rapport with each other, which will help us in times when we hit a rough patch,” Damjanovic said.

Sophomore Shaquille Gilbert, wing, said despite the fresh faces, there is more athleticism this year than last year.

He said that while a tougher obstacle lies in the freshmen players adapting to the college level competition, the team can work on it’s chemistry together.

“Everybody gets along with each other, there is no outcast player,” said Nate Viera, a freshman point guard.

Transfer sophomore from Notre Dame de Namur University Jack Pasquini, wing, said that along with the chemistry, the Dons have strength in the offensive line.

One thing fueling the Dons is making the playoffs and advancing farther than last year.

Last season, the Dons lost to the San Jose City College Jaguars in the first round of playoffs. This season, the Dons anticipate themselves getting just as far, if not farther.

“Our leaders [sophomores] won’t accept us losing,” said freshman Tajai McGehee, wing.

Damjanovic said making the playoffs set a standard for returning sophomores as well as incoming freshmen.

“That’s what they know now – the playoffs,” he said. “I expect us to do and exceed everything we did last year.”

McGehee said the team is ready to play. “[We can] go as far as we want to go.”

The Dons play their first home game this Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

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