Coach Joe Scott was very optimistic during the 2007-2008 season. With a veteran team and some new talent, Scott believed that the Union County College Owls could have been atop of the ECAC DIII Juco’s. Offense was not the problem, defense was. The result was a 16-15 season. Even though only four starters are returning from last year’s team, Scott is also optimistic about the upcoming season.
The Owls started practice on Oct. 1. “We come into this year’s team with lack of experience, but with high expectations” said the UCC coach. The biggest question for this team will be how soon the Owls’ incoming freshmen can fill the void left by last year’s graduates.
Standout guard Will Flenroy from Elizabeth and 6’5 center Justin Dotoli from Dayton Regional are two players that Coach Scott will be looking to for a successful season. “Will is a great kid and comes in with high expectations; he is not polished as a player. We need him to be a leader on the court,” Scott said. “Justin’s best basketball is definitely ahead of him.”
As the freshmen get up to speed with college ball, Scott will have to rely on four sophomores to get the team playing Owl basketball. Former Colonia standout guard Nick Allen and 6’4 Sharif Williams from Newark are the backbone of this year’s team. Allen is a perimeter player who averaged 8 ppg. Williams averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Owls do not have as many games scheduled this year as they did last season. “Sometimes you felt like you were just traveling to games and not working on improving at practice,” the coach said. The Owls have 22 conference games and six out-of-conference games this year. “I welcome the change” said Scott. “As far as UCC will compete an improved Passaic and Middlesex always puts together a tough team.”
One of Coach Scott’s goals was to get players from Union County to go to Union County College. Along with Flenroy and Dotoli, 6’5 Tyrone Maye—also from Dayton—came to UCC. “Tyrone was a pleasant surprise,” Scott said. Maye joins PJ Ernst from Cranford, Ken Hutchins from Governor Livingston, and Elizabeth grads Jamaal McCall, Anthony McCoy, Thomas Perez. With the infusion of young talent, Coach Scott and the Owls may be able to sneak up in their conference.
Jim Whelan can be reached at email@example.com.
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