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OUSC opens Sunday

Last season, the Trailblazers went 17-12 and were runners-up in the Ohio Regional Campus Tournament.

Friday, October 29, 1999

Last season, the Trailblazers went 17-12 and were runners-up in the Ohio Regional Campus Tournament. But gone from that team are several key players including leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Henderson and top reserve Walt Delong.

"We’ve undergone some roster changes, but we’ll be relying on a total team effort to get our wins this year. We have to play that way and we are blessed with some veteran players who will make that a lot easier. And we’ve added some kids who will add in that effort," Trailblazers first-year coach Ed Fry said.

Henderson, a center, was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons and Delong is now a starting offensive tackle for the NAIA No. 1 ranked Georgetown College.

The loss of the two big men has shifted the structure of the team from "Take It Inside" to more of a team concept, and that concept is helped by the talent and depth the Trailblazers possess at the guard position.

Junior Andrew Stevens, the 6-foot-4 long-range shooter from Lexington, Ky., was second on the team in scoring and eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in just two seasons.

Stevens is joined in the backcourt by 6-2 junior guard Kevin Wells who has returned to school after a five-year layoff.

Wells was an all-state star at old Ceredo-Kenova (W.Va.) High School who went to the University of Charleston and then Alderson-Broaddus. At A-B he finished third in the nation in 3-point percentage.

"You’ve got a 1,000-point scorer and then you have a player the caliber of Kevin Wells who was always a great scorer but has developed into a total player. They provide a lot of leadership out there," Fry said.

"We’re very strong at the guard position which is something we haven’t been. Kevin makes a big different in our defense. And he makes super passes."

Wells and Stevens will be on the wings with newcomer C. J. Captain, a 5-9 junior from Hillsboro, running the point.

Captain was the point guard on the Junior College National Championship team at Owens Tech in Toledo.

"He’ll start for us and he’ll fill a void we’ve had at that position. He’s a true point guard," Fry said.

A couple of juniors, 6-4 forward Maurice Creel and 6-8 center Danny Johnson, round out the starting lineup with another junior, 6-2 forward Derek Combs, expected to provide backup at both positions.

"Right now Danny is playing the best of his three years," Fry said. "Maurice Creel has always been a consistent performer for us, and our sixth man Derek Combs started last year and can play a variety of positions. He’ll play as much as any starter."

Also off the bench will be 6-1 freshman guard Chris Lovely from Chesapeake, 5-8 freshman guard David Johnson, 6-1 sophomore guard Marshall Tyson, 6-3 freshman guard Matt Wilson, 6-6 freshman forward John Roberts, and 6-7 forward Momir Gajic, a sophomore from Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.

"We have Momir and he’ll add a lot of defense and rebounding strength. David Johnson has been a surprise. He’s very quick and an excellent shooter. And I’m very happy about our local people Chris Lovely and Matt Wilson. They’ll see playing time as well along with John Roberts," said Fry.

This is OUSC’s third season. Fry, who served as an assistant coach the past two years, said that this is the most cohesive group in the school’s short history.

"So far our players have been working very hard. We’ve had some of the best practices since I’ve been working with the program. There’s a real developing sense of team among the players, and I feel they know what they need to do to win," said Fry.

The Trailblazers open the season at 2 p.m. Sunday against the University of Michigan at Dearborn at the Ironton Sports Center.