Men’s Basketball Preview: A “Work in Progress”

By Michael Minnich for the Mineral Daily News-Tribune Sports Editor- mminnich@newstribune.info

KEYSER, WV—With 11 freshmen on the roster, you’d understand if Justin Anderson’s Potomac State College Catamounts would take a while to find their way.

“It’s a work in progress. At this point, we have a lot of new freshman. We’re taking it one day at a time, one game at a time, just to work together and get better as the year goes on,” said Anderson.

It’s obvious, with his team averaging 100 points a game so far, that Anderson’s Cats will go at a high speed again this year.

“The way we play, our defense makes our offense. You’re going to go up and down. You’re going to have momentum and runs and what we try to explain to our guys is that there’s a difference between a good mistake and a bad mistake. We want to try to eliminate as many mistakes as possible, but if we are making a play and it’s a good mistake, we can live with it,” said Anderson. “We try to play as hard as we can every single play, and when you play that way, you’re going to make mistakes, but you also are going make runs.”

“We pride ourselves on conditioning. Our style of play is to play 94 feet. This game is up and down the floor at all different speeds and we feel that our conditioning has to be top-notch from the moment they step foot on campus,” said Anderson. “Everything’s in steps. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. If we can do one thing really well, and improve that with repetition after repetition, we’ll move forward. It’s simple and basic.”

After carrying a local in Keyser’s Peyton Hartman last year, Anderson has a roster heavy on players from Florida and Virginia this year.

Reggie Baker
Reggie Baker is back to lead the Catamounts in 2013-2014

“We’re looking for a young man that wants to start their career off on the right foot. We feel that Potomac State gives you every opportunity to do just that. We’re looking for good citizenship. Good kids from good programs. Good campus citizenship. And we’re looking for a man that’s not afraid of hard work on the floor and in the classroom. Transition-wise, the physicality and the speed is different, but as the year goes on, we’re looking to jell,” said Anderson. “We’ve improved our guard play, our length, and our athleticism.”

Anderson was able to draw on past connections to farm the fertile basketball market of the Sunshine State.

“I went to high school in Florida and played junior college in Florida and also played at a four-year school in Florida. So I have a lot of contacts down there, and a lot of my former teammates are coaches. We have a good amount of contact down there,” said Anderson.

The story so far has been one of those Floridians.

“Our sophomore, Reggie Baker, had 47 in the season opener against Catonsville, 33 the other night against Erie, and 21 the other night. So he’s averaging 33 points a game. And that’s a testament to his hard work. Reggie Baker has a strong work ethic. He’s not the same player he was last year,” said Anderson. “Reggie not only is good on the basketball court, but he’s also an excellent student. He has over a 3.2 GPA.”

“His strength overall has improved. He’s transformed his body. His decision-making is better, and a sophomore always will do that because they’re acclimated to our system.”

PSC will once again be tested this year.

“The Maryland JUCOs are very tough. In our conference, we played CCBC Beaver, who was ranked No. 1 in the country last year. I think the level of toughness and competitiveness is there. I think it compares with anyone in the country,” said Anderson.