BCC men are fitting pieces of puzzle together

first_imgBY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Brookdale’s Correy Haskins heads to the hoop during the Jersey Blues’ game against Essex on Dec. 1. A few games into the season, Paul Cisek has been able to draw two conclusions about his Brookdale Community College men’s basketball team. “We’re young and we’re making young mistakes,” he said. “Second, we’re talented, but we’ll take our lumps early. “The pieces of the puzzle are there,” he added. “We have to get them to fit together. We need to get down to a rotation.” The Blues opened up 1-1, having beaten Camden, 94-70, and lost to Mercer, 63-50. They have since gone on to capture the Brookdale Invitational title over the weekend, after defeating Division II Prince George, 77-75, in the first round on Saturday, and following that win a win in the finals over Technical Career Institute of new York, 83-73, in Sunday’s final to improve to 4-3 on the year. Brookdale is undoubtedly a work in progress. Of the 16 players on the roster, only three are sophomores; and of that trio, only one, guard Devin Gilliard from Woodbridge, played for the Blues last year. The other sophs are guard Joel Modestil, a transfer from Middlesex, and forward Paul Butler from Passaic. Cisek is breaking in a large freshman class that does have talent led by two solid big men in 6-foot-4 Omar Garrett from Tampa, Fla., and 6-5 Jami McBride from Franklin High School. “Omar is a slasher who can who can shoot the three,” said the Blues veteran coach. “Jami is raw, but will give us an inside presence. He will be a factor.” Freshmen Correy Haskins (Red Bank Regional) and Jed Marquez (Jackson) have been the starting backcourt for the Blues thus far. With the way Brookdale is running its offense this year, the designation of point guard and shooting guard doesn’t apply to either Haskins or Marquez. Both can handle and pass the ball as well as score. Kevin Fallon, a 6-2 shooting guard from Roselle Catholic and Theo Fujita, a guard from Middletown North, have been seeing big minutes off the bench. Sean Carter (Freehold Borough), Derrick Truesdale (Passaic), Jeff Wedick (Mater Dei), Jason Miller (Rumson-Fair Haven) and Todd Eastmond (Manasquan) also figure in the rotation with 6-4 Miller, 6-2 Carter and 6-3 Truesdale, providing depth and size up front. Rounding out the team are Sean Murphy, a guard from Middletown, and Alex Henn, a guard from Keansburg. One of the reasons that Cisek said his team will take its lumps early in the season is the number of freshmen on the squad. He noted that it takes time for them to adjust to the quicker, more physical game played at the college level. Brookdale should be a fun to watch this year as Cisek uses his athleticism and depth to play an up-tempo game. “The big thing about this team is that it is athletic,” he said. “We can score and shoot. We’re going to get after people in our man-to-man defense, and we can press.” One important ingredient that is missing on the young Blues is leadership. “We’re lacking a leader, that floor leader who takes control,” said Cisek. Cisek believes that in time, that leader will emerge as roles become more defined and the players themselves see who the floor general is. This past weekend, the Blues signs of maturity in winning their home tournament. Against Prince George it was Fallon setting the pace offensively with 18 points, while McBride chipped in with 10 points and nine rebouds. Then, against Technical Institute of New York, it was Haskins that led the way, scoring eight of his 14 points during a key 13-2 run late in the game. After years of playing in the South Division of the Garden State Athletic Conference, the Blues have been moved to the North, where the competition this year is Passaic, Bergen, Sussex, Raritan and Middlesex. Passaic and Bergen are already ranked in the top 10 nationally in the junior college polls. Cisek expects that there will be some growing pains in December and early January. The goal is for the team to jell in the second half of the season and be playing its best ball when the postseason GSAC tournament begins at the end of February.last_img read more