Solano College men's basketball team figures to have plenty of scoring optionsTimes-Herald, Vallejo, Calif. — Matt O'Donnell Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.
Nov. 09-- Nov. 9--FAIRFIELD -- Solano Community College head coach John Nagle knows he has plenty of shooters. The question is -- do the Falcons have enough defenders?
That is the focus as the men's basketball campaign began last weekend. Solano is 0-2 but showed plenty of scoring savvy in losses to Feather River and West Valley. The defeat to Feather River was an 81-79 decision.
"I'm really excited about the versatility and the pace we played at," Nagle said on Thursday during a morning practice. "Our style based on our personnel, we are excited about. What we need to work on is rebounding. We are a little undersized. We're athletic for our size, but we don't necessarily have the big bodies to bang with, so we have to do a good job on the defensive board coverage."
Solano was 7-20 overall and 5-11 in the Bay Valley Conference a year ago. The Falcons are sophomore heavy this season but will miss last year's leading scorer, Isaiah Duplechan, who averaged 18.5 points per game.
One of the key returners back is sophomore point guard Jordan Adams, a Vacaville High grad. Adams scored 12 points in each of the first two games and averaged 11.7 points last season.
"This year, I would say we're more focused," Adams said. "Last year was a lot about learning. We really didn't win a lot but this year is definitely about winning."
Nagle said he'll lean heavily on Adams this season.
"He's worked so hard, and he's such a good offensive player," Nagle said. "He's really leaning into his leadership role, so we're really excited."
One of the other stars early in the season is Dunnell Stafford, a 6-foot-4 swingman from Atlanta, Ga. Stafford scored a combined 31 points and combined for 24 boards in the first two games.
"He came out to California and started his career at College of the Redwoods," Nagle said. "He then kind of migrated with Berry (Roseborough) and Armon (Economou), our Sacramento guys, and made it down here. We're really happy to have him. At Redwoods, he was a big stat guy. He led them in scoring and rebounding, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did the same for us."
The other starters are Uriah Benning, a sophomore guard from Fairfield High, Economou, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Grant High in Sacramento, and Roseborough, a sophomore guard from Monterey Trail High in Elk Grove.
Benning is a transfer from Contra Costa College. Like Nagle, Benning noted that the team is still trying to get better defensively.
"I think we need to improve our communication on defense and our execution on offense," he said. "Other than that, we have the right mindset. We just need to stay focused."
Nagle said sophomores Alex Stepney (Will C. Wood) and Anthony Jones (Armijo) and freshmen Ricky Holland (Wood) and Cole Arabian (Concord) are the top players off the bench so far.
Nagle said with the pace the team plays at, everyone on the roster should see minutes. He said early in the year, he's still figuring out the rotation.
"Specifically defensively we're still working on it and we're still trying to figure out when we're in foul trouble, protecting guys," he said. "We have to be so aggressive in the post since we are undersized."
Nagle acknowledged that more teams are starting more than two guards on offense now, so the Falcons' small size may not be such a big deal.
"Luckily for us, a lot of teams are taking their tallest and best athlete and keeping him away from the basket," the coach said. "That serves us well. There are still teams that have the traditional power forward and center positions, but I think some of the flow of offenses is going toward more of a spread offense."
Solano's home opener is Nov. 18 against Sacramento City College. The Bay Valley Conference opener is Dec. 18 against Contra Costa.
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