Being from the North Country himself, North Country Community College men’s basketball coach Chad LaDue doesn’t mind seeing some local talent on his roster.
LaDue, entering his 11th season as head coach, sees a lot of local talent on the 2012-13 team. The Saints will have a 13-player roster that includes a nine players who were standouts on high school teams in Section VII and Section X.
The Saints, who finished 15-13 a year ago, open their season on Friday with a 7 p.m. home contest against rival Clinton Community College.
“Maybe I’m just getting older,” joked LaDue, who graduated from high school at Norwood-Norfolk. “But I purposely tried to get local kids this year, and I’m always trying to get the best players I can from area high schools. I really feel confident that I did this year.
“Every coach wants his players to reflect on who they are. I’m also one of those North Country guys.”
The not-so-good news is the Saints return just four players from last year’s squad.
They include center Steven Carder and guards Steven Poulter, Ian Henderson and Jared Heden.
“They will all play key roles for us,” LaDue said. “Carder had quite an honor in July when he took part in the Mullen JUCO Showcase in St. Louis, Mo. where he represented our region. The showcase was for the top 100 JUCO players in the country. Steve averaged 21 points and 10.9 rebounds a game for us last year.”
Among the players gone from last year are Region III All-Star Gene Bouyer and floor general Maurice Holden.
On board this season are nine freshmen.
Among the local players LaDue has added are AuSable Valley’s Brody Douglass, Chateaugay’s Michael Boyea, Madrid-Waddington’s Alex Brock, St. Lawrence Central’s Donovan Patraw, Brushton-Moira’s Devan Mills and Malone’s Andrew Poupore.
“Carder and Douglass are former (Champlain Valley Athletic Conference) Most Valuable Players,” said LaDue. “Boyea is a former MVP in Section X who is going to be our point guard, while some of the other players were All-Northern (Athletic Conference). So they’re all good players.”
The team is rounded out by guards Srdjan Grcic and Timothy Hanle and forward Rasheem Johnson.
“Grcic is from Serbia, and he will play a role for us,” said LaDue. “But he will need to get used to the physical play here.”
LaDue said the Saints won’t dazzle anyone when they take the court, and hard work is needed if the team is to be successful.
“When we walk out there, opponents won’t automatically think we’re going to win,” he said. “We’re not that big, we not that fast and we don’t jump real high. We’re going to have to play below the rim.
“But I know we’re going to work hard, play the game the right way and have a lot of fun. I wouldn’t trade this team for any I’ve had here. I know these players will all be here for the second semester because they’re all good in school. And they know the game of basketball.
“In order for us to be successful, however, we will need to share the basketball and play for one another. We’re not going to outjump or outrun anyone. We need to weather the storm early in the year, improve as the season goes on and hopefully find ourselves in the playoffs.”
North Country Community College
2012-13 men’s basketball roster
1- Brody Douglass, freshman guard, AuSable Valley
3- Jared Heden, sophomore guard, Malone
5- Steven Poulter, sophomore guard, Somerset, Tasmania, Au.
10- Michael Boyea, freshman guard, Chateaugay
15- Srdjan Grcic, freshman guard, Belguade, Serbia
20- Timothy Hanle, freshman guard, Baltimore, Md.
21- Ian Henderson, sophomore guard, Chateaugay
22- Alex Brock, freshman forward, Waddington
23- Donovan Patraw, freshman guard, Winthorp
25- Rasheem Johnson, freshman forward, Long Island
35- Devan Mills, freshman guard, Brushton
40- Andrew Poupore, freshman center, Malone
44- Steven Carder, sophomore center, Champlain
Head coach: Chad LaDue
Assistant coaches: Rob Roy, Scott Mitchell