While only two Roane State Raiders are returning to the college’s men’s basketball team this season – the fewest in Randy Nesbit’s 27-year career – the head coach is upbeat about the upcoming season.
Nesbit said, “My goal is to go undefeated, and I also hope to win the lottery, though I have never bought a ticket in my life. So both are not likely to happen. We play a daunting schedule. Out of conference, we play many ranked and national tournament team games.”
And the two returning players? “They’re really, really good,” Nesbit said. As a squad, “We’re not incredibly deep or big,” Nesbit said, “but we have a good overall blend of talent.”
“We’re really high energy,” the coach said of his players. “We put on lots of defensive pressure and push the ball quickly up court on offense.”
Nesbit said the team’s preseason learning pace “has been a little slower” than expected, but he expressed pleasant surprise following a recent scrimmage against Bryan College where the Raiders triumphed.
“I was surprised how effectively we played, given our level of experience.”
Joining Nesbit as assistant coaches are Alan Holt, now in his fourth season, and Mike Elmore, with more than 20 seasons under his belt. The Roane State student coach is Corbin King.
For schedules and more information, visit roanestate.edu/athletics. A select number of games will be streamed online. Learn more at www.jockjive.com/roanesports.
The returners are:
DeMierre Black, a 6’1” point guard from Marietta, Ga. “He’s got the total package,” Nesbit said of Black’s skills. “He’s a really good passer and a very good scorer.”
Austin Brooks, a 6’7” post player from Maryville. Nesbit says Brooks is a “ferocious competitor.” The coach said Brooks snagged 10 offensive rebounds in his first scrimmage; a feat he’s never seen done before. “That’s an example of his aggressiveness and strength,” Nesbit said.
Jaron Hoover, a 5’11” point guard from Tupelo, Miss. “He should be a good contributor to the season, and he’s shown real potential.”
Kavan Hill, 6’4” wing player from Murfreesboro, Tenn. “He’s really improved defensively and has the potential to be an explosive three-point shooter. He’s a strong physical rebounder.”
James Jordan, a 6’5” point guard from Detroit. His long limbs and his height are an unusual advantage for the position, Nesbit said. “He sees the floor very well and is a potent scorer.”
Grant Holt, 6’2” wingman from Clinton, Tenn. “He has the potential to be an outstanding three-point shooter and has good strength and athleticism.”
Christian Blue, a 5’8” point guard from Stockbridge, Ga. “He’s a very quick, very explosive three-point shooter and a disruptive defender.”
Lutelson Jerome, 6’4” wingman from Deerfield Beach, Fla. “We have expectations for him to be a veteran-type player, even in his first year. He’s shown signs of being a good three-pointer shooter as well as a scorer around the basket.”
Kenden Reaves, a 6’7” post player from Knoxville. “He has a very nice touch on his jump hook shot and has strong hands.” Nesbit said. Kenden’s mother, Sharrona Reaves, is an assistant coach for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols.
Dillon Fountain, a 6’5” wingman from Wartburg. “He’s shown he’s athletic enough to compete in our league,” Nesbit said. “He’s shown at times that he could be a very good three-point shooter in his freshman year.”
Jacob Llumbet, a 6’7” post player from Maryville. “Could provide a depth in the post and is a very unselfish, team player.”
Front row from left in picture are Roane State men’s basketball players Jordan Biliter, Spencer Moore, Chris Worthy, Kavan Hill, Christian Blue, Jaron Hoover, Grant Holt, DeMierre Black, and Draven Tate. Back row from left are head coach Randy Nesbit, Lutelson Jerome, Kenden Reaves (No. 15), Jacob Llumbet, Malachi Gayle, Austin Brooks, Malachi Johnson, James Jordan, Dillon Fountain, assistant coach Alan Holt and student coach Corbin King. Not pictured is assistant coach Mike Elmore.