Roane State Community College men’s basketball coach Randy Nesbit appreciates his team’s effort in the preseason.
He just needs his players to stay healthy.
“The key is depth,” Nesbit said. “We had four forwards on the roster that we thought would play big roles, and three are out with injuries.”
Sophomore forward Antonio Gardner is expected back soon. Freshman forward Tayte Kitts could be back by mid-November, and sophomore forward Greg Murphy, who scored 15 points per game last season, is week to week.
“In the short term, we have to stay perimeter-oriented,” Nesbit said. “It limits us a little bit. If we can keep two forwards healthy, we can get some more inside scoring.”
Nesbit said the team is well-conditioned, allowing the Raiders to stay in games despite their limited lineup. Roane State came from behind during two preseason scrimmages, evidence of the team’s endurance.
“Our athletic performance system has paid a lot of dividends in quickness, explosiveness, and endurance,” Nesbit said. “I like the effort our guys have put forth so far. Defensively, we’ve been pretty strong. We’ve been forcing a lot of turnovers and getting a lot of steals in our early scrimmages.”
Nesbit knows that Roane State has “our work cut out for us” in the talent-rich Tennessee Community College Athletic Association.
“There are at least two teams that are top 20—Columbia State and Southwest Tennessee,” Nesbit said. “The men’s side of our league is just off the charts talent-wise. There are four teams right now with players getting high major offers. It’s the best talent level I’ve ever seen.”
Nesbit, who is assisted by coach Jerry Boynton and administrative assistant Mike Elmore, provided his outlook for each of the Raiders. For more information about Roane State athletics, visit www.roanestate.edu/athletics.
Ryan Davis, No. 30, freshman, guard, 6-4, 202, Cartersville, Ga.: Davis has good size and can handle the ball well. He plays backup point guard, wing, and some at the post. “He’s a very, very versatile player,” Nesbit said.
Antonio Gardner, No. 23, sophomore, forward, 6-8, 175, Riverdale, Ga.: Gardner is an excellent all-around scoring threat and an aggressive defender. He suffered an ankle sprain but is expected back soon.
Kyle Gunter, No. 5, freshman, guard, 6-1, 170, Sunbright School: Gunter shows early signs of being an effective outside shooter. In his first college scrimmage, he knocked down four 3-pointers. He has improved his on-the-ball defense and, with continued progress, could provide valuable minutes.
Ivan Hardin, No. 10, freshman, guard, 6-0, 176, Lilburn, Ga.: Hardin is a point guard with good leadership skills. He’s disruptive defensively and explosive with the ball in his hands.
Xavier Howard, No. 22, freshman, guard, 6-3, 213, Harriman High School: Howard redshirted last year due to injury. He’s an effective scorer in the open court, and he has improved his 3-point shooting. Defensively, his footwork and ball containment have improved.
Tayte Kitts, No. 20, freshman, forward, 6-6, 200, Union County High School, Maynardville: Nesbit expects Kitts to be out until mid-November due to injury. Nesbit described him as “strong, athletic and aggressive on both ends of the floor.”
Marques McKoy, No. 24, sophomore, forward, 6-6, 200, Conyers, Ga.: McKoy had a solid freshman year, and he has upped his intensity level and athleticism. Nesbit said he expects McKoy to take a significant step forward in his sophomore year.
Jon Mitchell, No. 1, freshman, guard, 6-3, 205, Watertown, Conn.: Mitchell has a lot of offensive potential, and he should progress well as he adjusts to the level of competitiveness and intensity in college basketball.
Greg Murphy, No. 3, sophomore, forward, 6-5, 229, Cartersville, Ga.: Murphy was second-team all-conference last season, so “we expect big things from him,” Nesbit said. He is sidelined with a stress fracture and is considered week-to-week. He averaged 15 points and five rebounds per game last season.
Dillon Repport, No. 12, freshman, guard, 6-3, 174, Daniel Boone High School, Boones Creek: Repport is a long, rangy player who has improved his athleticism. “As soon as his shot gets adjusted to the college game, he should be a huge help to us,” Nesbit said.
Jordan Solomon, No. 32, freshman, guard, 6-2, 187, Raleigh, N.C.: Solomon a solid guard whose on-court skills tend to elevate the team’s overall play.
Chris Cook (West High School), Dedrick Turner (Conyers, Ga.) and Ron Whitaker (Washington, D.C.) will redshirt.
See the men’s schedule here.