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Men's Basketball Season Preview

The Eastern Arizona College men’s basketball team has their sites on another outstanding campaign as the 2004-2005 season sets to tip off. The 2003-04 season saw the return of EAC in post season – their first trip in eight seasons after a record setting stretch of sixteen straight post season appearances. Now the sites move up a notch as this year’s squad looks to give the Gila Monster program its eighth Region title.

Though the hopes are high, the task will not be easy for third year Head Coach Tim Parmeter. EAC returns only two players from last years team so blending them in with 13 newcomers who hail from 5 different states and 3 different countries will be a huge challenge. Two outside factors will make the goal even more difficult for the Gila Monsters. First is the fact that the talent level in the always tough Arizona Community College Athletic Association is as high as it has been in some time and second is the ACCAC has restructured the playoff system allowing only four teams to qualify for post season rather than the six it has always been.

To reach the lofty goals, Parmeter looks first to the two returnees from last years team that won 18 games and advanced to the Region semi-finals. Brandon Woods, a 6-8 sophomore from Moreno Valley, CA is back after a banner freshman season that saw him average 13 points and 6 rebounds per contest. He saw action in 31 of the team’s 32 contests, starting 26 of them. Phillip Harvey is also back after a fine freshman campaign. Harvey a 6-3 guard moved into the starting lineup midway through the year and was never replaced. He averaged 6 points per game and established himself as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. Both players will be heavily counted on for their leadership as well as their performance on the floor

Though EAC only has two players back from last year’s team, they do return a familiar face to Coach Parmeter. Brad Smith, a 5-11 shooting guard from Mesa, played for Parmeter three seasons ago at Scottsdale where he averaged 9 points per game while shooting 45% from three point range. Three other sophomores on the roster are Russ Murrey a 6-7 forward from El Cerito, CA who transfers in from Sonoma State University, David Williams a 6-2 guard from Hartford, CT played one season at Cuesta College and Ronald Thomas a 6-2 guard from Chicago played two seasons ago at Pima College. All four of these players will be looked upon to have outstanding sophomore seasons.

The freshman class is also deep both inside and out. Two in particular will be counted on for major minutes. Hrvoje Pervan comes to Eastern from Croatia Though it will be the 6-7 Pervan’s first season in the US, he has a wealth of international experience and can play all five positions for the Monsters. Jerryck Owens-Murrey, a 6-6 forward and brother of Russ Murrey, spent one year at the Naval Academy Prep School and should make a huge impact as a freshman. Others who will battle for minutes on the perimeter are Anthony Kidd a 6-1 guard from Crenshaw HS in Los Angeles, Chris Booker a 6-3 guard from Sylmar, CA, Justin Booker a 5-11 guard from Sacramento, CA and DaRon Stafford a 6-0 guard from Phoenix. Inside depth will come from Sone Finister a 6-7 forward also from Crenshaw HS in Los Angeles, Dean Hanson a seven foot center from Middlesboro England and TJ Tomlin a 6-5 forward from Safford, AZ.

As this team learns their roles and the system – a system that has had an enormous amount of success in the ACCAC - look for them to improve on last years success, again reach the post season, and hopefully embark on a season that will end in yet another Region title and trip to the National Tournament for the Gila Monsters.