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Men's Basketball Team Focuses on Details
In First Half of Season


West Windsor, N.J. -- During the 2009-2010 season, the men's basketball struggled in the first half of the season, heading into the winter break with a 5-9 record. The second half of the season was a different story, as the men embarked on an amazing run through the end of February, and capped it off with the Region 19 title and trip to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.

This season, the Vikings are hoping for a repeat story, as they head into the winter break with a record of 6-9. (The Vikings closed out 2010 with a 95-86 victory over Salem CC on Dec. 21.) Head Coach Howard Levy says the team has concentrated on learning the details of playing - and winning - at the college level.

"We've had some good wins, but we've lost to some teams we could have beaten," Levy said. While he believes the Vikings have the talent to win every game, he notes that the squad is a little undersized. "That means there is no margin for error. Players must recognize the value of every possession, including defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball."

Levy notes that his approach may differ from the way players learned the game. "I tell them they have to be 100 percent unselfish for the team and 100 percent selfish as individuals. Each of them should want to get so good that they play every minute of every game."

The Vikings' roster features a blend of returning players and rookies. Sophomores Gary Carthan (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown HS) and Anthony Obery (Roselle, NJ/Abraham Clark HS) bring experience and leadership to the line-up. Philadelphia natives David Melton (Germantown HS) and Rodney Walters (Frankford HS), transfer student Jermaine Emanuel (Wilmington, NC/Laney HS), Jonathan Jernigan (Willingboro, NJ/BCIT-Medford) and Donovan McCleese (Trenton, NJ/Trenton Central HS) are also playing key roles. Contributors off the bench include forwards Esad Kiris (Turkey), Stanley Tuchez (Hightstown, NJ/Hightstown HS), and Arlington Rowley (Newark, NJ/St. Benedict's Prep), and guards Robert Fusik (East Windsor, NJ/Hightstown HS), Justin Roy (Lambertville, NJ/South Hunterdon HS), and Brandin Youngblood (Trenton, NJ/Bordentown HS).

Offensively, the Vikings have had a balanced scoring attack, with 6 players averaging double figures. Forward David Melton leads the Vikings with 11.2 points per game, followed closely by guards Jernigan and Obery, both averaging 11.1 points. Also contributing to scoring totals are Carthan, with 10.8 points per game, Emanuel with 10.7 points, and Walters, with 10.6 points.

Carthan leads the Vikings in rebounds, with 6 per game, followed by Melton with 5.4 per game. Jernigan is the assist leader, with 2.3 per game, followed closely by Carthan with 2.2.

Levy is realistic about the team's chances in the second half of the season. He observes that the competition is better than ever, and the Vikings will have to come back fully committed to practicing hard and playing hard. "We will need to work to make it happen every single day," he said.

The Vikings resume play January 8 at the Community College of Rhode Island. The first home game of the new year is against Ocean on Jan. 11. For the game schedule and scores, click here.

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