Plainsmen basketball team will have several familiar faces

One of the things that separates junior college athletics from what can be found at universities is the high amount of turnaround teams tend to see from one year to the next. In recent years, the high turnover trend was alive and well in the Frank Phillips College Plainsmen Men’s Basketball program where having just two or three players turning from the previous season seemed to be the norm. However, the Plainsmen appear to be breaking the trend, as eight players have signed letter of intents to return to Frank Phillips College, including all five starters from the 2011-12 squad.Expected to return for the 2012-13 season are All-Conference guards Taquan McDew, 15.7 points 4 rebounds, and Ronald Scott, 13 points, four rebounds and 3.9 assists, along with Greg Nelson and Rodshard Davis, which should give the Plainsmen one of the top backcourts in the WJCAC to start the season. Wing players Akeem Johnson, 10 points and five rebounds, and Earl Hill are expected to return, along with post players Demetris LaFontant and Alex Zivkovic giving the team experience near the paint.In Head Coach Chris Hackett’s first season leading the Plainsmen, the team experienced several ups and downs on their way to a 10-22 overall record and a 2-12 mark in WJCAC play. But the team played a lot better than the record indicates, including losing four conference games by less than three points. In reflecting on the season, Hackett said, “ Even though we lost a lot of close games due to inexperience, we competed most nights and got better as the season went on.” In looking ahead, Hackett commented, “Next year I believe we have a chance to be really good. We return all five of our starters, including Taquan McDew and Ronald Scott, who were our leading scorers and were named All-Conference.” When looking how he wanted to build the program in his first year leading the Plainsmen, Hackett’s goal was to find talented players who were hard workers on and off the court. Hacket said, “When I took over, there had been a lot of turnover and a lot of attempted quick fixes. I didn’t take any transfers and we looked for talented players that wanted to be part of turning things around and would do things the right way.”Hackett’s approach so far has produced good results off the court, as the Plainsmen were able to retain every player during the winter break this past season and were able to finish the year having the highest GPA of all the Frank Phillips College athletic programs.While Hackett and his staff are pleased to have a good core returning, Hackett has been hard on the recruiting trail looking to bring in around eight new players for the fall.It is probably too early to say the Plainsmen will be in contention for the WJCAC title come next February. But with the talent returning to Borger, the Plainsmen should be a team that is a lot of fun to watch and should be able to find themselves in the top half of the conference standings.