The Rangers are looking to compete, get better, during a long stretch of road games at the start of their NWAC season
The Olympic College men’s basketball team will rack up plenty of miles through the end of December.
Rangers coach Craig Murray hopes it will instill teamwork and camaraderie among many of the new faces on the 2019-20 roster. The toughest aspect of the early part of the schedule are the road trips, but Murray said the key is to make those trips worthwhile and have an “us against the world” approach.
“You have to focus in on what is your number one reason for going to a tournament,” he said. “It’s to play basketball and compete and get better.”
Olympic will learn quickly as the Rangers are at the Dale Bates Tournament Friday-Sunday in Eugene, Oregon for games against Oregon’s club team, Lane College and Umpqua College. They play at Green River Dec. 11, at the Centralia College Crossover Dec. 17-19 and at Highline Saturday, Dec. 21. January begins with two more road games at Centralia Jan. 2, and South Puget Sound Jan. 4.
Olympic is expecting to have a stronger season thanks to some added size and more shooting depth. The Rangers are buoyed by the return of point guard Will Johnson, a sophomore from Tukwila (Todd Beamer) who averaged nearly 12 points per game last season, as well as North Kitsap alum Zac Olmsted, Jaiden Mosley (8.5 ppg) of Olympic in the guard positions. Six-foot-eight sophomore forward Derrius Stewart gives the Rangers some much-needed muscle along with 6-7 freshmen forwards Caleb Morgan of Olympic High, South Kitsap’s Mike Welch at 6-7, and 6-6 Tyler Williford.
Murray said the Rangers will need every bit of its size and shooting ability as the North Region is deep.
“This year it’s probably the strongest it’s been in a long time,” he said. “It’s a deep division.”
While Murray thinks a .500 record might get a team into the playoffs he’d rather not cut it that close. Picking up wins on the road will be just as important as winning at home.
The Rangers will return to their home court at the Bremer Student Gym on Wednesday, Jan. 8 against Whatcom.
Three Keys to the Season
Head coach: Craig Murray
- Attention to detail on offense, defense
- We want to play in transition with defense as main focus
- Take advantage of stronger shooters
Returners: Will Johnson (so., PG, Todd Beamer/Tukwila), Jaiden Mosley (so., G, Olympic/Bremerton), Zac Olmsted (so., PG, North Kitsap/Poulsbo), Derrius Stewart (so., F, Elk Grove/Sacramento, Calif.).
Newcomers: Austin Penny (fr., G, Chiawana/Pasco), Omari Edwards (fr., PG, Thomas Jefferson/Seattle), Russell Whealdon (fr., G, O’Dea/Bainbridge), Eli Reynolds (fr., G, Cottonwood, Salt Lake City, Utah), Tino Villanueva (fr., G, Elk Grove, Sacramento), Jayden Upshaw (fr., Central Kitsap/Silverdale), Josh Riak (fr., Cottonwood, Salt Lake City, Utah), Tyler Williford (fr., Mount Tahoma/Tacoma), Caleb Morgan (fr., Olympic/Bremerton), KaShon Tate (fr., Pasco), Mike Welch (fr., South Kitsap/Port Orchard).