IN THE MIX: Busters open Pepsi Classic against North Platte
When Garden City Community College coach Kris Baumann looks around at this
year's group of Broncbusters, he sees question marks.
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Garden City Community College guard Corey Claitt pulls down a rebound against
Seward County during the first half of their game Saturday night at the Seward
County Community College 2007 Pepsi Classic in Liberal.
He knows the answer might be in there somewhere, it's just too early to tell
what it might be.
"We're just trying to kind of find ourselves right now," Baumann said. "We're
kind of feeling each other out. Defensively I think we're okay, we just don't
know where the ball needs to go."
Last weekend, Garden went 2-1 to open the season at the Seward Classic, posting
easy wins against Carl Albert State College and the Sterling College J.V. before
struggling in a 76-63 loss to Jayhawk West foe Seward County.
Garden City hosts the Pepsi Classic starting Thursday against North Platte
Community College at Perryman Athletic Complex.
"I thought our ball pressure was very, very poor against Seward," Baumann said.
"We didn't do a good job doing pressure defense like we should be able to with
our athleticism, and our offensive balance was off."
Against the Saints, shooting guard Corey Claitt and point guard Jordan Ragan
took 38 out of 63 total shots for Garden City and the Busters weren't able to
get what should be a formidable post game going.
"You're not going to win in the Jayhawk Conference without post play," Baumann
said. "Not just that, but you need to get baskets in the paint."
Claitt is leading Garden City in scoring with 22 points per game, and Ragan is
averaging 17.7 points. The Busters should get a big boost this weekend when
heralded freshman Chris Roquemore, a 6-foot-8 power forward, makes his debut
after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
The three-game suspension was part of a bigger, week-long suspension for
Roquemore, who rejoined the team today.
"He's going to play, but he's not going to start," Baumann said. "It's no
different from anybody else, if he plays defense and takes good shots, he'll
stay in. If he doesn't, he'll come out. He does a lot of things good on offense
and defense, and with him and Trevor (Ottley), that's a nice one-two punch at
Ottley, another 6-8 freshman, suffered a slight ankle sprain at the Seward
Classic, but will play this weekend.
Along with North Platte, the other men's teams headed to Garden City this
weekend are Laramie County (Wyo.) Community College, and Frank Phillips (Texas)
Not surprisingly, all three teams have ties to Baumann.
Baumann coached against North Platte and head coach Kevin O'Connor when he was
the head coach at Lamar (Colo.) Community College.
"North Platte is a well-coached team," Baumann said. "They always play hard and
they won't beat themselves."
Laramie County head coach Jason Ficca was a manager at the University of Idaho
in the late 1990s when Baumann was a star shooting guard for the Vandals.
Baumann's father, Rick, hired Ficca as the head coach at Treasure Valley (Idaho)
Community College. Rick Baumann is the athletic director and head baseball coach
at Treasure Valley.
Frank Phillips head coach Chad Kline was an assistant to Baumann at Lamar.
"Jason is a good friend of mine," Baumann said. "And Chad's team won the Western
Texas Community College league last season, which is a huge accomplishment.
We've got our hands full when we play Frank Phillips. They're very fast and very
hard to guard."
Garden City opens against North Platte at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Busters take on
Laramie on Friday and Frank Phillips in the tournament's final game on Saturday.
Tipoff Friday and Saturday is also set for 8 p.m.