By Jeremy McDonald
OREGON CITY, Ore.– Two and a half hours worth of box out drills, flowing to the ball and rebounding just to name a few made up Wednesday’s practice.
And it’s only the third week of the preseason.
For the Clackamas Community College Men’s Basketball team, after winning two straight Northwest Athletic Conference Southern Division their best finish in the NWAC Tournament was eighth-place in 2014; the hunger to build from the experience is there for the squad
“We feel pretty good with how we played in league the last couple of years, we don’t feel like how we played in the tournament very well,” started Cougar Head Coach Clif Wegner.
“Two years ago, we entered the tournament with nine guys, three weren’t even healthy so that was a real tough assignment. Then last year we ran into a tough team, but we bounced back and won two games and we lost a tough ball game for fifth-place to Treasure Valley.”
With two losing seasons since the 1979-1980 season, five NWAC Championships and 11 division championships to their record during that time; winning has been in the livelihoods of the Cougars.
“I replaced (a guy) who had established a really-good tradition,” said Wegner. “I assisted him one year, we won the NWAC championship and the Southern Region Championship.
“His teams were tough and competitive, we’ve maintained that and I think we’ve turned it up a notch since I’ve been here.”
That guy was Royce Kiser, who went 379-179 and won one NWAC championship in 1993-1994 during his 20 years as coach. Since Wegner took over in 1998, his Cougar teams have won three NWAC Championships and seven division championships.
Behind highly recruited post Vince Boumann, hardnosed Shayne Rixie and Co-Captains Garrett Litterall and Joey Baldwin to go with a strong incoming freshman class, Wegner described the balance with his team.
“I think we’ve got a good enough crew of big kids as anyone in the NWAC,” he started. “I think we have a good of a roster of shooters as anybody in the NWAC.
“Our objective is to play up-tempo. We want to spread the floor and make you guard us on the perimeter and want to open up the middle for our big guys to play high-low basketball because we think we’re going to be hard to guard.”
And the expectations at a player level is just intense as their up-tempo practices.
“I have really big expectations for this year as well,” said Baldwin. “We’ve expect a lot of each other and we expect to be we’re we were at last year and to get back into that tournament.”
As for the long practices.
“I’m used to them,” said Baldwin with a smile. “I’ve been playing basketball my whole life and I’m just used to them, it’s just another day at work for me.”
For more information or schedules visit the Clackamas Community College Athletic page and click the “Men’s Basketball” Tab.
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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