West Windsor, N.J. – With last year's men's basketball team advancing to the Region 19 final before losing 65-59 to Essex CC, this year's team is clearly setting its sights on the championship. Early into the 2013-2014 season, the Vikings are playing well and Head Coach Howard Levy is optimistic about what lies ahead for this young, but talented squad.
“This is the quickest our players have been at picking up and executing the offense we run," says the sxith-year coach. "It's helping us get off to a good start this season."
The Vikings are currently 4-2. They return only two sophomores from last year’s squad, which earned at 21-10 final record. Forward Makanaki Garcon (Fords, NJ/Woodbridge High School) and guard Kevin Allison (Bordentown, NJ/Florence Township High School) are both taking leadership roles. Garcon is an experienced starter and Allison has gone from the first man off the bench in a largely defensive role last season to a starting guard and one of the team’s offensive leaders.
The roster also includes a number of talented freshmen: guards David Johnson (Philadelphia, PA/Communications Tech), Dashante Alexander (Philadelphia, PA/Simon Gratz) and Brandon Winston (Ardmore, PA/Harriton) along with forward Dandre Parmley (Phildelphia, PA/Swenson). Forward Aamir Williams (Yardley, PA/Pennsbury) is expected to add key minutes for the Vikings along with freshman guard Danny Hairston (Roselle, NJ/Abraham Clark) and sophomore guard Michael Douglas (Robbinsville, NJ/Robbinsville).
The Vikings are getting an early opportunity to see how they stack up in Region 19, winning two of their first three matchups. They beat Lackawanna 74-68 away on Nov. 19, lost a close 83-80 contest to Raritan Valley on Nov. 21, and held on to beat Del Tech Stanton 99-97 on Nov. 24, with freshman Aamir Williams scoring the winning basket with just two seconds left. (The other loss was to Division I powerhouse Harcum College, which has several NCAA Division I transfer players on its squad.)
Even the loss against Harcum was a good sign, according to Coach Levy. “You can find a lot of positives from a loss like that, including the fact that our guys played hard the entire game. They never got rattled, even though Harcum pressed us most of the time.”
Coach Levy fully expects that hard work and daily improvement will make this year's team a contender for the Region 19 title. Still, he expects plenty of challenges to come the Vikings' way. “Our region is very talented this year, with Essex and Del Tech always tough and teams like Raritan and Manor poised to compete.”
The Vikings face Region 19 opponents in their next three games: Burlington away on Nov. 26; Morris at home on Dec. 3; and Essex away on Dec. 5.
Coach Levy is assisted this season by Jordan Ingram.
See the team's full schedule here.
Aamir Williams warms up before a Nov. 12 game
against Gloucester, which the Vikings won 68-55.
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