Posted at 1 p.m., Dec. 5, 2013

Photo by Kasey Orr

Deshon returns:
No. 3 Deshon Portley is back for his final season of Golden Eagles ball.

B-ball is back!

Men head into season with new strategies, new faces

Take a deep sigh of relief, basketball fans. You don’t have to pretend to like baseball or football or soccer any longer because the Golden Eagles’ basketball team is back on the courts and well into the season.

With a record of 7–3 after the home court win against Western Nebraska Community College Dec. 3, the 2013-2014 team has a lot of road games in its future.

This road-heavy schedule is a result of the team being invited to the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout in Mesa, Ariz., for the first time. The coaches had a decision to make as attending this tournament would cost the team several home games because of the season’s schedule. Head Coach Jason Ficca did the math and elected to accept the invitation. He felt the value of the experience to the players was too good to pass up.

With few returning players, the Golden Eagles are filled with new faces, but not all are freshmen. Sophomore transfers like Kendyl Grover, Martin Dixon-Green and a former University of Southern Mississipi player from the British Virgin Islands, Deon Edwin, are expected to bring a lot to this year’s team.

Edwin has already proven himself to be one of the team’s leading scorers with an average of 23.7 points a game, barely surpassing returning star Deshon Portley’s 22.7. In fact, Edwin and Portly are currently ranked eighth and ninth in the nation among highest scorers.

Incoming freshmen have begun to make their mark on the team as well. Darien Fernandez joined the Golden Eagles as a point guard, and Ficca said that “with him and Deshon, two great ball handlers, makes us really hard to guard.”

Ficca did not feel much disadvantage to having so many players “because we’re running a completely different system on offense and some different defense than last year.” He said, “Everyone on our team is kind of at ground zero.”

The Golden Eagles have played Northeastern and Northwestern Colorado Community Colleges, losing both games, but have been successful against most teams from Wyoming and Nebraska. They have also won by at least 10 points in six of their seven victories thus far.
With a conference record of 2–1 and an away record of 1–2, the team will spend a lot more time on the road this year, but both the players and their coach seem confident.

More basketball action:

Eagles greet home court with win

Men's Basketball team