T-Birds start new season
By Calvin Domingo - Staff Reporter
After last season's disappoint- ing 11-17 record, the men's basket- ball team will be aiming to bounce back this season and return to their winning ways.
Head Coach Che Dawson, who is in his 16th season coaching the Thunderbirds and is 251-180 over- all and 148-86 in region play, said that being able to assist young men in life is what drives him.
"At the end of the day it's help- ing young men grow up, so they can maximize their opportunities in life. Basketball has always been a means to that end. In the mean- time, we want to have as much success on the court as possible while doing things the right way," he said.
Coach Dawson also sees a dif- ferent group than that of last year, with more capabilities and ability to win more games.
"Last year was so far below our standards in so many ways; both in terms of wins and in terms of how we conduct ourselves. This year's group has much more po- tential than that group. Whether we make the choices necessary to reach that potential is the ques- tion," he said.
Freshman guard Jordan Pur- vis said that there are a couple of factors that give this year's squad more promise.
"Hunger the past two years here have not been what High- line is known for; so, this year, we have guys willing to do anything to compete and get the [win]," said Purvis.
With nine newcomers on the team, being able to formulate chemistry and gather any sem- blance of camaraderie is a team responsibility but is much easier said than done.
Seeing as how roster turnover is inevitable for a two-year school such as Highline, Dawson says that it's up to the players them- selves if they want to help build team chemistry.
"It really depends on the kids. High character returners always make it easier, especially if they are your better players. We have great kids returning who have the right mindset. We have great newcomers who have the right mindset."
Dawson said that if players take care of school first, they can be as good as they want to be.
"If they take care of business in the classroom, we have a chance to have a really healthy culture on the team and a productive season," he said.
As for realistic goals and ex- pectations for the upcoming sea- son, Purvis said that they plan on finishing with a winning record, making the playoffs, and advanc- ing as far as possible in the play- offs.
"Priority No.1 is to finish with a winning season and make NWACS, and then after that, make it as far in the tourney as possible," said Purvis.
Dawson said that although he likes this year's team and sees po- tential for greatness, they do have some weaknesses that they could work on as the season goes.
"We should be a lot more ver- satile this season. We should be a lot more competitive this season. We should be a lot more skilled this season. We should buy into 'team' a lot more this season," he said.
Meanwhile, the Highline men's basketball team has had two scrimmages so far, one against Clackamas on Nov. 4, and one against Edmonds on Nov. 9 (82-75 victory for Highline).
As for the scrimmage against Clackamas, Dawson had both positive and negative takeaways.
"We had several players out because they aren't performing in
the classroom. We played well the first part of the jamboree, but once our lack of depth and fatigue be- came a factor we didn't execute or compete as well," said Coach.
Purvis had a more positive out- look.
"Some of the positive things I see from our guys is that we have potential through the roof and if we can keep our stuff to- gether, then we can do some- thing pretty special this year. With that being said, we real- ly need to work on finishing games as well as on and off-ball defense," he said.
The Highline men's basketball team had their final scrimmage against the Seattle Mountaineers on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Highline, but results were not available at press time.
They begin the regular sea- son on Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Skagit Valley Turkey Tournament against the Penin- sula Pirates in Skagit Valley.
The Highline men's bas- ketball roster includes a handful of returners and a lot of new freshman:
• 5'11" freshman guard Israel Brown, Garfield High School, Seattle.
• 6'8" freshman center Ethan Gates, Mount Baker High School, Demming.
• 6'0" freshman guard Mahlik Hall, Kent Meridi- an High School, Kent.
• 6'4" freshman forward Noah Harper, Spring Val- ley High School, Columbia, S.C. ranked 10th in state in high school (MaxPreps) averaged 12.0 ppg on 63.4% field goal% his senior year in high school.
• 6'4" sophomore guard-forward David Har- ris, Lincoln High School, Tacoma ranked 8th in state in high school (MaxPreps)
• 6'0" freshman guard Ryder Kavanagh, Lake Stevens High School, Lake Stevens averaged 15.0 ppg on 52 percent field goal percent with an 87 percent free throw percentage his
senior year in high school. • 6'1" sophomore guard Trenten McCall, Word of Life High School, Las Ve- gas, Nev.Averaged 15.4 ppg, 4.0 apg, and 82 per- cent free throw percent- age his senior year in high
school. • 6'9" freshman cen-
ter Tristan Miguel, Au- burn Mountainview High School, Auburn.
• 6'2" freshman forward Darius Mitchell, Desert Pines High School, Las Ve- gas, Nev. Ranked 12th in state in high school (Max- Preps), starter on back-to- back state championship title teams.
• 6'5" freshman forward Emmanuel Mulibea, Hunt- er High School, Salt Lake City averaged 10 ppg on 45% field goal percentage in addition to a 70 percent free throw percentage his senior year in high school.
• 5'11" sophomore guard Coby Myles, Desert Pines High School, Las Vegas ranked 12th in state in high school (MaxPreps)
• 6'4" freshman for- ward RJ Nelson, Foss High School, Tacoma.
• 6'1" freshman guard Jordan Purvis, Napavine High School, Napavine averaged 10.4 ppg on 51% field goal percentage in ad- dition to a 78 percent free throw percentage his se- nior year in high school.
• 6'2" sophomore guard Coby Rothwell, R.A. Long High School, Longview.
• 6'4" freshman guard-forward Nathan Yockey, Klawock High School, Coffman Cove, Alaska averaged 28 ppg on 62 percent field goal per- centage.