With one season at Clarion University under his belt, second year men’s basketball head coach, Marcess Williams, is finally ready to get the season started.
In his first season as head coach, Williams posted a 10-16 record, while going 7-15 in the PSAC.
During the press conference last week, Williams talked about the team’s offseason roster moves, saying, “We had to make a lot of difficult decisions this offseason.”
From last year’s team, only BJ Andrews, Justin Grant, Cameron Grumley, Rob Agurs and Ralph Naples are left.
The Golden Eagles brought in 10 new players for this coming season.
However, while a lot of turnover is usually not good, it appears that this is what was best for the team.
Clarion has already played two home scrimmages this year, and it is safe to say that up-tempo and high flying are how fans can describe this team.
One disadvantage Williams had last year was that he became the head coach a week before official practices started.
That makes it hard to teach a team a new system of playing and have it executed to perfection in only a matter of weeks.
This year, Williams not only has had a whole offseason to help teach his players, but he also has a team that fits his scheme quite well.
Last year’s team played well against other teams that had the height advantage, but ultimately fell to them.
This year for the Golden Eagles, that won’t be a problem.
Tim Gill, a 6’8” center and Akeem Williams, a 6’7” forward, transferred to Clarion this year.
Freshman Kwame Morton Jr, son of former Golden Eagle basketball star Kwame Morton, will also provide size with his 6’9” height.
The Golden Eagles also brought in guards Andre Anthony, Justin Dobbs and Larry Johnson Jr.
These crafty guards have great court vision, along with smooth jump shots.
Golden Eagle fans will also see some local familiar faces this year.
Guards Roland Shannonhouse and RJ Laugand will be suiting up for the Golden Eagles this year.
With all these familiar faces, one might question how team chemistry is affected by the high turnover rate.
Coach Williams noted that, “a lot of the incoming players have played with each other in the past.”
Andrews came to Pittsburgh this summer to play in a summer league with a few of the players, and Anthony and Agurs played high school basketball together at Penn Hills.
Another factor Williams talked about this year was how deep the team is off the bench.
Williams said, “We are 15 players deep, and these players know their roles. Players who have been counted on to score 19 points in a game can now score 12 points, and that could equal four more wins throughout the course of the year.”
Last year, fans saw how Williams brought a new energy to the men’s basketball program.
This year, Clarion can be expected to play even more competitively in the PSAC with a deeper and much taller team.
From what can be seen on the court, every player has bought into Coach William’s philosophy and is ready to contribute in any way they can.
With the start of the season just around the corner, Coach Williams’ quote sums it up: “I’m ready to go to war with these guys.”