Tonight the Frank Phillips College Plainsmen Men's Basketball team will tip off the 2011-12 season hosting Lubbock Christian JV at 7:00 p.m. at the BCAC.
First year Plainsmen Head Coach Chris Hackett has already worked hard to change the culture within the program, making the team one the Borger community can proudly support and enjoy on and off the court.
Hackett comes to Frank Phillips after serving as an assistant coach at Florida Tech University. Prior to his time in Florida, Hackett worked in the JUCO level in Kansas and believes he understands what it takes for a program to be successful at the JUCO level.
On why he wanted to come to Frank Phillips, Hackett commented, â€śI like coaching at this level and I am excited about having the opportunity to build a program in what is the toughest junior college conference in the country.â€ť
On the court, Hackett has put together a team with a good blend of quickness and size that the coach believes has shown some good promise.
Size has been one of the things the Plainsmen have lacked in recent years. However, that wonâ€™t be too big of an issue this year, as the roster currently has nine players listed at 6â€™5â€ť or taller.
Ben Murphy and Melvin Robinson each measure in at 6â€™8,â€ť with Hackett describing Robinson as a player with good energy who plays smart, while Murphy has continued to show improvement through the fall.
Serbian Alex Zivkovic measures in at 6â€™10â€ť and has done well adapting to the athleticism needed to compete at the JUCO level, while Akeem Johnson, 6â€™5,â€ť has done a good job coming in and becoming a leader, according to Hackett.
Other players who will see time near the basket include Earl Hill, 6â€™6â€ť, Demetris Lafontant, 6â€™8â€ť, Kris Harris, 6â€™5,â€ť and Patrick Elledge, 6â€™7â€ť.
As nice as having good size is for the team, Hackett is quick to point out in order to have success the team will need to have the ability to get up and down the court against smaller and quicker teams.
Fortunately, the Plainsmen have several solid playmakers in the backcourt including Montero Rice, 6â€™0,â€ť and Ronald Scott, 6â€™1â€ť.
Other backcourt players include Rodshard Davis, 6â€™0,â€ť Greg Nelson, 6â€™3,â€ť and Taquan McDew, 6â€™3.â€ť
Two familiar faces from last seasonâ€™s squad are 6â€™6â€ť forward Mike Evans, who Hackett said has developed a solid work ethic and should fill several roles on the court, and the 6â€™2â€ť red-headed Australian James Boonstoppel, who is a deadly outside shooter and plays solid defense.