The Chesapeake men’s basketball team lost considerable talent from last year’s team. Few squads in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Association featured a one-two backcourt tandem like Anthony Tate (averaged 20 points per game) and Jordan Alston (14). Both Tate (Livingstone) and Alston (St. Mary’s) went onto to play at four-year colleges.
But Skipjacks’ coach Allen Mitchell isn’t fretting. They could be vastly improved from last year’s 8-18 record because of one word: balance.
Mitchell is brimming with confidence the Skipjacks can have a breakthrough season with the level of depth and talent on the roster. “I project at least 15 wins,” Mitchell explains. “I don’t have to depend on one or two players. A lot of guys would stand around and watch them put on a show last year. This year, I have seven or eight solid players who are good athletes and can score. We will get a lot of different player’s shots.”
With the departure of Tate, the Skipjacks -- who open the season at the University of District of Columbia on Oct. 19 -- had a big hole at point guard. Dennis Robinson, a 5-foot-9 sophomore transfer from Wallace State Community College in Alabama, could be the answer with his vast array of skills. He’s a solid ball handler and an excellent passer, but those are only a few of his attributes. “He is very athletic, a great defender and he is very explosive,” Mitchell says. “He can dunk the ball viciously. And he is like a coach on the floor. He has a great knowledge of the game and can really run the team.”
Robinson will start along with two other returning sophomores: center Albert Scott (6-8, 220 pounds) and shooting guard Ben-ami Spence (6-2). Scott could be a huge factor inside. Rebounding and shot blocking are his strengths. He just might the team’s most improved player. “He worked out with one of the best big men over the summer that I have known for a long time,” Mitchell says of Darryl Prue. “Prue has worked with (NBA) players Greg Monroe and Roy Hibbard. He really helped Albert. Albert can average a lot more points than last year when he averaged four.” Mitchell believes Spence is another player that can take a big step forward. “He really has improved his shooting and ball handling,” the coach said.
Two freshmen, shooting guard Devin Hill (6-3) and forward Julius Cobb (6-7), will play immediately. They earned starting berths in the preseason. Hill has been especially impressed Mitchell. “He has a chance to be an all-conference player,” Mitchell says. “He could average 20 points if he plays up to his ability.” Cobb can score with a variety of low-post moves, but Mitchell also values him for his defense. “He will anchor our defense,” Mitchell says. “He is a good shot blocker and rebounder.”
Freshman guards Antonio Warner (6-1) and Malik Broome-Cummins (5-9), guard/forward Wayne Whye (6-1) forwards Jordan Bolder (6-5) and Malike Cooper (6-3) will work as the top subs off the bench.
“We have improved in a lot of areas,” Chesapeake assistant coach Anthony Washington says. “We are really going to be an exciting team to watch.”