GSC Basketball Preview

After finishing the preseason with a loss to Division 1 power WVU, the Pioneers are ready for the regular season to begin. After the loss Head Coach Stephen Dye remained upbeat for the upcoming season and it is easy to see why given the opposition. “[Going to WVU] was good for the program and the school. It was also great experience for our young guys,” said Coach Dye of the experience.

The Pioneers only return five players from last season but expectations are higher than they have been in recent years. “Our goal is to finish in the top half of the conference,” says Coach Dye on the high expectations on the young Pioneer squad. Of the five returning players, the three with the most experience are the three guards in Junior Kevin Gray, Sophomore Andy Dollman, and Sophomore Jamel Morris. “Those three have really set a good example for the new guys,” say Dye on the leadership qualities of the team. Make no mistake though; it won’t be just those three Pioneers contributing to this year’s team. New additions to the team that look to make an immediate impact are Lamar Mallory, Joe Ballard, J.J Vasquez, D.J Blanks, Andre Jackson, and Lamont Cole who has some big shoes to fill with his cousin, Norris, in the NBA with the Miami Heat.

Mallory, who hails from Dayton, Ohio, is a Junior College transfer from Miami University-Middletown. Mallory brings a lot of size, listed at 6’7”, and the proven ability to score at collegiate level. Also hailing from Dayton, Ohio is Freshman big man Joe Ballard. The 6’6” Ballard possesses not just great height but a tremendous vertical leap and speed as well. An all-around athlete, Ballard has the speed to run a 47 second 400 meter dash which is truly unique given his size. J.J Vasquez isn’t a native of Dayton, Ohio but he does have at least one thing in common with Ballard and Mallory. He brings even more size to a Pioneer squad, which in the past, has been guard oriented. The 6’5” Boston native has impressed Coach Dye so far in the young season. From Akron, Ohio a new guard has been introduced to the team in Freshman D.J. Blank. The 6’3” guard brings a scrappy defensive style that should be able to force several turnovers against even the best Division 2 guards and has good enough court vision to even play the point guard position. Coming from the city of Baltimore, Maryland is big man Andre Jackson. Jackson is listed at 6’7” and is definitely one of the top freshmen to watch not just on this Pioneer squad but in the WVIAC also. Lastly is the guard Lamont Cole. The 6’3” Junior averaged double figures in the scoring column while at Edison Community College. He provides instant offense to this young Pioneer team but he also is another proven leader at the guard position.

With all of these new additions on Glenville’s roster it goes without saying that we can expect a whole different style of play from the Pioneers as well. On the offensive side of the ball the Pioneers are going to use more run-and-gun offense than they have in the past. With most of the experience at the college level coming from the guards it is easy to see why Coach Dye came up with this style. On the defensive side the Pioneers are going to use a variety of defenses. “[We are going to use] a little bit of everything. Depends on who we are playing,” said Coach Dye. Last year’s team showed flashes of brilliance with a win over playoff qualifier, Wheeling Jesuit, and competing to the last minutes with West Liberty, currently ranked number one in Division 2. Hopefully with more size, speed, and talent than ever; Coach Dye can bring the Pioneers back into the top half of the WVIAC.

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