SPSCC men to rely on depth

Last year the SPSCC men’s basketball team emerged as one of the top four teams from the tough NWAACC Western Division to advance to the championship tournament for the first time since 2008.

This year, the Clippers will rely on a deep bench and physical play in their quest for a second consecutive tournament berth.

Back are Scotty Ewing, a 5-8 guard from Miles Stone Academy in Missouri, and former Olympia High School standout Jamey Smith. Both were starters on last year’s tournament team will be key leaders in the 2012-13 campaign.

“This is the greatest depth we have had in the three years I have been here. We are very deep at guard and at the post position,” head coach Curtis Norwood said.

The Clippers will miss former standout Anye Turner, who led the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in rebounding and blocked shots last year. Turner is now playing for defending NCAA Division II national champion Western Washington.

Filling the gaps left by Turner are newcomers A.J. Fuller, Eddie Gaines and Kole Podowicz.

Fuller, a 6-0 guard, is a former Rainier Beach star who played at Eastern Arizona last season while Gaines will utilize his 6-foot-6 frame at the forward position. Podowicz, a 6-4 sophomore is a former all-league selection at Timberline High School in Lacey.

“This is the tightest team we have had in the three years I have been here,” said Norwood. “They are friends on and off the court and that’s a good sign. We are so much further ahead than we were at this point last season.”

Norwood sees defending NWAACC champion Tacoma Community College as the clear favorite in the Western Division again this season.

Norwood said Clipper fans can expect to see a physical team take the court when they play their first home game on Dec. 7 against Whatcom Community College.

“We have a team that executes and is physical. We should be averaging around 80 points a game – we have a lot of shooters and a few men that can dunk. When you play us, you better bring your lunch.”