One thing the Centralia College men’s basketball team already feels it has way more of heading into the 2022-23 season, is depth. Experienced depth.
After struggling through the growing pains of a 3-22 season last year, with a roster mostly of freshmen being thrown into the fire of their first collegiate playing time, the Trailblazers won’t have such a problem this season.
“I definitely feel like we have more depth than we have in past years,” Blazers coach Jason Moir said. “Last year we had significantly less depth. We’re excited about having these guys come out and ready to go. It's always tough for incoming guys that were go-to guys in high school that have to learn and adjust and accept a new role, just accepting that you might have to sit behind a guy before you're that consistent.”
That sophomore group will include two backcourt studs in Raymond Guillory and Adrian Brown, who Moir hopes will develop into forces to be reckoned with on the outside. Additionally, former W.F. West guard Kayden Kelly will lead the charge as the lead guard.
All three will be relied on heavily after making steady improvement from being tossed to the wolves a year ago as freshmen, with Guillory being a new addition from Louisiana State Eunice and Yakima Valley College.
“We’re building around that sophomore group of guys,” Moir said. “Adrian Brown and Raymond Guillory, those two are athletically and position-wise a couple of the more skilled guys at their position. We expect those two to have a big impact for us this year. Kayden Kelly, our local PG returning, his vocal leadership and his willingness to leave everything out on the floor, we hope that rubs off on other guys.”
That core group of sophomores will only help a large chunk of freshmen that have an older class to look to, and grow from, as they look to make the adjustment to college hoops.
Included in that group are Trevion Frazier, Juelz Mendoza, and former Centralia High School standout Landon Kaut.
Additionally, sophomore transfer Deshawn Keperling is expected to contribute right away.
“A lot of our freshmen are trying to learn new offenses and defensive positioning-type of stuff,” Moir said. “Once the freshmen make those adjustments, it's about how quickly they can make those adjustments each and every game.”
No matter who takes the floor, though, a mostly-undersized Centralia squad will look to run the floor and play strong defense, looking for transition opportunities between strong halfcourt offense sets.
The Blazers open their season with the Blazer Classic this weekend, starting on Friday in Centralia against Treasure Valley.
“We want to be able to get out and run and take care of the basketball,” Moir said. “We have some really athletic wings and guards, we should be able to get up and defend and have the ability to run the floor. We’re going to have a combination of transition action but also have the ability to slow down and execute in the half court if needed.”