By Brenden Martin
TCC Sports Information
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 25, 2013) – It has been a long offseason, and the Tallahassee Community College Eagles are gearing up to take the floor again.
TCC will open the regular season against Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) Community College onNovember 1 as part of the Quality Inn Classic, hosted by Northwest Florida State College. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. eastern.
Eagles head coach Eddie Barnes is excited for this upcoming season and says that his expectation for the team is very high.
“I think this year we can excel and get back to the National Tournament. We have one of those teams that’s very versatile and very talented,” Barnes said on Thursday.
Barnes raved about the talent on this team and the chemistry between the players. He said that this team is close to finding an identity. For a team to have an identity, however, certain players have to step into roles.
Barnes uses practice time to find out about the personalities of his players. He tries to figure out which players he can trust to make plays, who can be consistent and who can be a leader.
He mentioned two players in particular who he sees are stepping into a leadership role – sophomore transfers forward Cameron Naylor (University of North Florida) and guard Earvin Morris (Kent State University) have shown outstanding strength and character both on and off the court.
Barnes had extremely high praise for other players as well, including sophomore Marlon Johnson who he says can be ranked as the number one power forward in the country. He is expecting a big year from Johnson and also from guard Cameron Dozier, who has played well in the fall scrimmages. He also said that the duo of forward Elmo Stephen and guard Dirk Williams could be the best wing players in the country.
When looking at the Eagles on the court it is obvious that the bond between the players on this team is very strong. The team spends time off the court with each other doing various activities including going to church, going out to dinner and playing games. This builds team chemistry and trust, and allows players to get to know one another.
“We have a system in which we depend on each other and we try to have each other’s back,” Barnes said.
This Eagles team can be very dangerous this year. Their coach believes in his players and thinks that anybody can step up and shine on any given night. With the talent, coaching, and chemistry between the players, the Eagles have a strong chance of getting back to the National Tournament.
Following Friday’s season opener, Tallahassee will play a second game in Niceville onSaturday, November 2, also at 4:30 p.m. eastern, against Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College, the defending NJCAA Region 7 Champion.