Allen County Community College’s Red Devil men’s basketball team heads into the 2010-2011 season with only one returning player from last season. They also have someone new but very familiar at the helm.
Keevis Tukes is a pretty good player to draw from as the lone returner from last year’s 17-13 squad. Tukes is a 6-4 sophomore guard from Orlando, Fla., who led the Red Devils in three-point shooting.
Anwar Perry spent the past three years as assistant coach for the ACCC men’s basketball team. He helped coach the Red Devils under the direction of former head coach Mike Hayes and did the majority of the recruiting for the team.
Every assistant coach is working to become a head coach. Perry’s first opportunity in the top spot on a coaching staff came in August when Hayes suddenly resigned as head coach.
“The guys have responded well. My role has changed from being the ‘good cop’ as an assistant to being the ‘bad cop’ as head coach,” Perry said, as the Red Devils prepare for the season opener Tuesday.
“I have a very good rapport with the players. A head coach has a balancing act to do. Our players need to know they have to get the job done in the classroom as well as the basketball court.”
In the recent Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) coaches preseason poll, the Red Devils were picked eighth in the Jayhawk Eastern Division. They finished fifth last year with a 12-6 conference mark.
The Red Devils go to Penn Valley Community College Tuesday to open the season. Then they have four straight home games starting with Hutchinson, which was picked to win the Jayhawk West, on Nov. 9.
Allen County has three sophomores on the team this year. Along with Tukes are two transfer players in 6-4 Jason Smith and 6-foot Tahshaun Kelly. Both are guards.
Tukes shot 46 percent, 81 of 175, from beyond the three-point arc last year. He was 128 of 272 from field goal range and 66 percent, 25 of 38, at the free-throw line.
Tukes pulled down 85 rebounds, dished out 52 assists and scored 362 points. He had 13 blocked shots and was second on the team in steals with 43.
“I expect Keevis to be the leader both physically and vocally. He knows what it takes to succeed in our conference,” Perry said. “He will play at the No. 2 guard spot, the shooting guard.”
Don’t be surprised to see a lot of three-or-four-guard sets by the Red Devils. Perry, who was a standout point guard for Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky, was on four NCAA Division II national championship game teams. Kentucky Wesleyan won the NCAA Division II national title in 1999 and in 2001 with Perry on the team.
Smith, who is from Fort Worth, Texas, transferred from Ranger (Texas) Junior College. Kelly is from Junction City and transferred from Colby Community College.
Smith will see action at the No. 3 spot as a guard/forward bringing a lot of athletisim to the court. Perry said Smith can shoot the ball from the outside or put it on the floor and take it to the basket.
Kelly is expected to be ACCC’s starting point guard. Kelly comes out of New York originally.
“He has great dribbling skills and can score. Tahshaun can create opportunities for his teammates,” Perry said.
“These three sophomores will lead us defensively. We should be able to really get up and pressure the ball a lot more this season. We’re probably smaller overall than most teams but we have a lot of long arms and quick feet.”
Speaking of long arms, Terrell Shears is a 6-7 freshman from Kansas City, Mo., He is versatile enough to play down low at the No. 3, 4 and 5 spots. He can shoot the three-pointer and got inside to score and rebound.
Thomas Daniel, a 6-8 freshman from Kansas City, Mo., is the “big man” on the court for the Red Devils. Perry said Daniel sees the court well for a post player and plays well on the low block.
Rickey Hollis is a 5-10 freshman from Kansas City, Mo., and is the back-up point guard. Hollis is the team’s scoring point guard.
“Rickey can really push the ball up the court for us and penetrates with the basketball,” Perry said.
Tyler Myrick from Pleasanton, Chuck O’Neal of Kansas City, Kan., Jordan McDowell of Goddard are three more guards. Perry said Myrick and O’Neal are hard-nosed players who will fit into roles well for the Red Devils this season. McDowell is a strong shooter with ability to penetrate and create. He had a knee injury slow him down and should come off the bench to play at the No. 2 guard spot.
“We’re just a versatile group. Defensively, we’re going to just get after it with our quickness. Offensively, we have the ability to create shots for each other. We can penetrate and kick the ball to the open player or spot up and shoot it,” Perry said.
Chad Rourk of Iola and James East of Lawrence are guard/forwards. Rourk brings a physical-style of play for the Red Devils while Easter is working back in shape after an automobile accident.
“Chad seems to get to the right spot at the right time for us. He goes in an rebounds. James will provide valuable time off the bench. He can hit the 8-10-foot shot from the wing,” Perry said.
Jake Benton, who is 6-8 and from West Columbia, S.C., is the back-up post player for Allen County. Perry said Benton plays with the mentally of a wing player.
“He is physical. He sets a pick and loves it. We’re looking for him to rebound and play defense for us as his offensive skills improve,” Perry said.
Taylor Singles-Smith, a 6-5 freshman from Auburn, is a guard/forward type. Perry said Singles-Smith is a possible red-shirt candidate this season.
“Rebounding is really a concern for this team going into the season. We cannot allow teams to get second and third shots on us. We have to block out well and pull the rebounds,” Perry said.
During preseason scrimmages, Perry said he has been pleased to see the progress of his team. “But we have areas to work on as we get close to the start of the season,” he said.
Perry said there is no team in the Jayhawk East that should be counted out of the title chase. He said Independence, Coffeyville and Cowley County were his top three teams heading into the season.
“Then it’s a toss up. We have a tough pre-conference schedule to get us ready for conference play,” Perry said.
In the preseason poll, Cowley County was picked as the favorite followed by Coffeyville and Independence.
Perry does not have an assistant coach.
Allen County Community College
Men’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 2 — Penn Valley, 7 p.m.
Nov. 9 — Hutchinson, 7 p.m.
Nov. 12-13 — Red Devil Classic
Nov. 12 — vs. Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa, 8 p.m.
Nov. 13 — Butler, 8 p.m.
Nov. 16 — Penn Valley, 8 p.m.
Nov. 19 -20 — State Fair Classic
Nov. 19 — vs. West Plains, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 — vs. State Fair, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 22 — Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Dec. 1 — Neosho County, 8 p.m.
Dec. 4 — Highland, 8 p.m.
Dec. 7 — Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa, 7 p.m.
Dec. 10-11 — Hutchinson Classic
Dec. 10 — vs. Sterling, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 — vs. Hutchinson, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 — Kansas City, Kan., 8 p.m.
Jan. 8 — Coffeyville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 — Johnson County, 8 p.m.
Jan. 15 — Labette, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 — Fort Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 — Independence, 8 p.m.
Jan. 26 — Cowley County, 8 p.m.
Jan. 29 — Neosho County, 8 p.m.
Feb. 2 — Highland, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 — Kansas City, Kan., 4 p.m.
Feb. 9 — Coffeyville, 8 p.m.
Feb. 12 — Johnson County, 4 p.m.
Feb. 16 — Labette, 8 p.m.
Feb. 19 — Fort Scott, 8 p.m.
Feb. 23 — Independence, 8 p.m.
Feb. 26 — Cowley County, 7 p.m.
Home games in bold.