Monday, September 22, 2014

The 2014-15 Merritt College Thunderbirds

Merritt College Coach Keenan McMiller, assisted by Jamaal Cannon, Maurice Compton and Jason Gant, is ready to roll out this season's Thunderbirds. "We will have a bigger inside presence than last year, the IQ and willingness to be coached is there and it's going to be hard to score on us," McMiller offered. "I want to defensively take teams out of what they do."

He added, "These guys aren't compartmentalized to doing just one thing -- they can shoot, defend, rebound and pass. The skill level is the best I've had here, the passing is the best ever and our guard quickness is the best. Our goal is to build a better foundation each day."

The Merritt roster:

(commentary provided by Coach McMiller)

* Denzel Bellot, sophomore, 6-foot-2, McClymonds High, Oakland, CA

("a tough and coachable DI combo guard and one of the team leaders, he is a quality shooter who can finish with contact and he rebounds and passes well  -- Denzel also has a mid-range game and makes clutch threes and he'll guard top players") 

* Jovante Carleton, freshman, 6-foot-4, El Cerrito High, San Pablo, CA

( "a swing guy with good size, he is very coachable and is willing to defend the best guy on the court. is improving as a shooter")

* Jamelle Corbino, sophomore, 6-foot-4, Castlemont High, Oakland, CA

("a tough, undersized four who can shoot it and he rebounds like a madman -- Jamelle is smart, a great kid, a solid student and he'll be the perfect NAIA guy")

* Dejante Kennedy, freshman, 6-foot-4, Pittsburg High, Pittsburg, CA

("extremely talented, he can play multiple positions and is a tremendous defender and passer -- nagging injuries have prevented him from getting up to speed in conditioning and confidence but he is developing his mid-range and three-point range")

* Travon King, sophomore, 6-foot-6, Teaneck High, Brooklyn, NY

("he is going to score posting up and in the open court, Travon is at the DI level athletically with his explosiveness and power"

* Dannon Lemon, freshman, 6-foot-7, McClymonds High, Oakland, CA

("a tough defender and rebounder with an intimidating presence, he has a good motor, knows how to play and is always around the ball")

* Mike McAllister, freshman, 6-foot, Oswego East High, Chicago, IL

("the brother of Ryan Boatright, the starting point at Connecticut, Mie's tough, cat quick and can defend plus he's a solid outside shooter)

* Rodney Pope, freshman, 6-foot, Freedom High, Oakley, CA

("has a great feel for the game and is learning how to be a high-level point guard, he really shoots well and can get to the rim")

* Oliver Roger, freshman, 6-foot-6, Kinshasa High, Paris, France

("a former soccer player who is very raw but he's tough and will rebound, he was raised in Paris and has family in the Congo")

* Leo Smith, sophomore, 5-foot-9, Oakland Tech High, Oakland, CA

(" Leo's definitely a DI guy as a scoring point, he'll have to shoot at a higher percentage level but he does other things that effect the game like creating help so his teammates can get some wide open threes -- he's just a hungry kid who  brings intensity, a high IQ and a work ethic and he's someone who can defend bigger guys")

* Anthony Tabor, sophomore, 6-foot-3, Antioch High, Antioch, CA

("another glue guy who can play the two, three and four, he accepts his role but is very competitive, he's working on improving his skill level")

* Mike Turner, sophomore, 5-foot-9, Hercules High, Compton, CA

("he provides high energy and is an intense defender and competitor")

* Deshawn Verdell, freshman, 6-foot-9, South Gwinnet High, Atlanta, GA

("a developmental guy who needs to better his skills and athleticism but he runs well and can block shots -- he'll continue to get better as his skill and strength and athleticism improves, DeShawn has a solid motor and a high ceiling.")

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