By Josh Norman | Contributor
Even though the Coastal Georgia men’s basketball team has had a few unpleasant years recently, coaches and players don’t want fans to judge them by their previous records. With second-year head coach Jesse Watkins leading the Mariners and some the new additions to the roster, the team hope to turn things around this season.
Nearly all of the newcomers to Coastal Georgia stand 6-foot-4 or taller, giving the Mariners a big and lengthy lineup.
“I wanted to add some stability inside especially with the guys I have coming back. I believe with these transfers coming in they can become impact players,” Watkins said of the 2015-16 squad. “I really like guys that can play multiple possessions and that makes scouting really hard.”
Derrick Frye and Dominic Early are two key senior transfers that should add versatility to the Mariners’ lineup. Frye, a 6-foot-5 senior, is a big body slashing guard with great athleticism and Early, a 6-foot-6 senior, is long with a smooth jump shot; both can play shooting guard or small forward.
Guard Dimychael Ross is also a big addition to the team; the 6-foot-4 junior has shown flashes of his potential in practice sessions. Watkins landed two more big men this season with the signing of Joshua Thompson and Anton Hurst. The 6-foot-5 Thompson and the 6-foot-8 Hurst should keep opponents out of the lane this year.
While length is a competitive edge the Southern States Athletic Conference, the Mariners plan to lean on their guards this year. Returners such as Corey Harris and Jamaal Rhodes are looking give the Mariners a special impact. Andrej Tomic, a returning big man, also has great expectations for the team. The three returning seniors, along with the three senior transfers, want to end their college careers on a collective high note.
“With us having six seniors this year we want to finish out with a bang, but more importantly we are out to earn respect from not only teams in conference but outside of the conference,” Harris said. “And with this year, the guys we added I definitely feel like we will make a huge improvement from last year.”
The team appears to have more depth than in years past, which is a benefit. With the style of play Watkins hopes to implement, having quality players coming off the bench will be critical. Watkins will determine everything Oct. 29, after their first game, which they go head to head against South Georgia College.
The Mariners’ preseason sessions are giving Watkins chills from how good he thinks they are going to be this season. Stay tuned and make sure you are there for the Mariners’ home opener Nov. 7 against Thomas University at 7 p.m.