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Basketball season is rapidly approaching

BY MORGAN GRIMMETT

The term “Ball is life” is true for the Chemeketa Storm basketball players, especially with the season approaching.

After diligently preparing during the past three weeks in conditioning class and morning weight routines, practices have finally begun.

“It is good to be back in the gym and to have coach cussing at us again,” Jordan Ewell, a returning Storm wing, said.

Chemeketa’s 2014-15 squad only boasts six players from last year’s team that finished 8th in NWAACC competition and will face early challenges during its first two games against Northern Idaho and Snow College, both National Junior College programs.

David Abderhalden, the Storm’s head coach, is not fazed.

“On paper, we look to be competitive in both our league and the NWAACC. Our success will depend on how quickly the new and returning players gel,” he said.

Returning to Chemeketa from last year’s squad: Kevin Brazile, a second-year guard;

Darrien Christian, a second-year guard;

Jalen Schlegel, a second-year forward;

Jordan Ewell, a second-year wing;

Rashid Mahboub, a forward who played two years ago but was redshirted last season; and

Derek Nash, a wing who also was redshirted last season. New players on the roster this year:

Keith Bowen, a first-year forward from Las Vegas;

Jalen Ballard, a first-year guard from Vancouver, Wash.; Cameron Lyon, a first-year wing from Grants Pass;

Tim Graham, a first-year wing from Portland;

Bradley Branch, a first-year wing from Salem; and

Vince Alohki, a first-year forward from Chad, Africa

Six additional players with the basketball program are redshirted and will not play this season: Jacob Brustad, a guard who played his high school bas- ketball at McKay; Bryson Gray, a forward who played at West Salem; Patrick Counts, a wing who played at Blanchet, in Woodburn; Logan Ackerman, a wing who played for the Storm last year; Paul Vettrus, another guard who also played for the Storm last year; and Andrew Evans, a guard who is a transfer student.

The newcomers must adjust to a whole new level of competition and teammates.

“How quick our freshman learn the change of intensity, speed, and physi- cality of the college game will be a key in our development,” Abderhalden said.

Bowen, who played his high school basketball in Nevada, said he hoped that the transition would be seamless.

“Personally, I think I can adjust pretty easily. I believe my previous coaches have helped me a lot to prepare for this,” he said.

Adjusting to the speed of the college game is especially important because of the exciting and up-tempo brand of basketball that the Storm plays.

Abderhalden thinks that this year’s style of play might even be even faster than it’s been in previous years.

“If anything, we are trying to crank up the tempo even more,” he said. “It is a fast-paced and exciting brand of basketball to watch. We have averaged over 93 points per game and don’t anticipate any slowdown this year.”

Even though the players started practicing hard for the season this past Monday, students will have to wait until Nov. 25 for the team’s first home game, against Clark College, to get their first glimpse of the Storm in action.

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