A & E, Sports

Clark’s men’s basketball team preps for Umpqua Tournament

Men’s basketball coach Kevin Johnson (Photo courtesy of Clark College’s athletics page)


The Clark College Basketball team has the Umpqua Tournament coming up in Roseburg, Oregon from Nov. 15-17. The Penguins will face Simpson JV, Blue Mountain, and Green River. Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Johnson states than in Junior College sports there is so much constant turnover in a roster that you don’t know what teams do schematically when you play them early in the season. 

“I don’t know anything about them. At the Junior College level teams are going to turn their roster over so much and nobody’s played any games yet. We did get a glimpse of Green River at the jamboree, but we didn’t play against them,” Johnson said. 

The Penguins have a lot of freshman on the team this year, but are hopefully to grow fast and put together a good team. “We just need time. I like our class a lot and I think we have talent. We lack athleticism in some spots, but we have some guys that can shoot the ball, so we just need to get them to where they can adjust to the college game and a lot of that comes in the middle of the season when these young guys get experience,” Johnson said. 

Matt Garrison and Blake Stemkowski are older guys expected to help mold the freshman. “Both of those guys are good leaders and they’ve been through it before. Matt is a well accomplished kid who made the all-region freshman team last year. I think he was the best post defensive player in our region a year ago, so he’s really a stabled guy that we can rely on for a number of things on both sides of the ball,” Johnson said. 

Clark was a good defensive team last year and look to avoid a drop off. “I think more than anything is making the adjustment to the speed and the athleticism on the floor. You can talk about that with guys coming out of high school, but there are somethings that you have to experience and go through, but I’m very confident we’re going to be a good defensive team,” Johnson said.

Scoring was a problem with the Penguins last season, and they hope to improve that. “The first way you improve any weakness in any sport is recruiting, so we went heard after good shooters during the off-season. Shooting depth last year were areas that needed to be improved. Last year we had athleticism, but we weren’t a good perimeter shooting team, which is tough in the NWAC, because it’s a three point league. In this class we collectively have a group of guys that can shoot the ball well, and in addition to that we’ve recruited well at the post position where we have more length and athleticism as well as scoring threats form guys in the low post,” Johnson said. 

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