After finishing 18-11 last year and losing in the quarterfinals in the Region XIV tournament to Navarro, the Apache Men’s basket- ball team has even bigger expectations for the 2010-11 season.
The Apaches are led by two returning sophomore players, for- ward Malcolm Moore from Iowa City, Iowa and point guard Mitch Marquis from Whitehouse.
Marquis led the team last year in assists averaging 6.3 assists a game and Moore was second on the team in rebounds
with 5.8 rebounds a game.
The players are looking forward to this season because the pieces seem to be in place to make a long run this year.
“We have a chance to win it all this season,” Marquis said. “We have real talent, intensity and enthusiasm this year and we have been really working with each other so we can be on the same page.”
Another reason expectations are high for the 2010-11 Apaches is the depth of the team.
“With this year’s team, we have more size and depth,” Head Basketball Coach Mike Marquis said. “We have a very talented group of freshman that have came in this year and I am really look- ing forward to seeing them mature as people and as players.”
Probably the most talented freshman to join this year’s team is Jaron Johnson.
Johnson signed with TJC last April be- fore graduating from John Tyler High School in May, hoping to follow in his brother Justin’s footsteps who also played at TJC before he went on to play at the University of Iowa earn- ing first team all conference honors.
Previously before signing with TJC, John- son was being recruited by such schools as Northwestern State, UT-Arlington and Colorado State.
“I think Jaron fits in perfect with all of the freshman we have here,” Coach Marquis said. “He is a very talented player and I think he has great potential as he continues to grow.”
Furthermore, the leadership from the sophomores will play a significant role in the Apaches’ season.
Moore will help occupy the middle with his 245-pound frame in the paint. He led the team in scoring, averaging 15.5 points a game last year as a freshman.
After last year’s breakout season, Moore exemplified the player he is and what player he can be in his coach’s eyes.
“Malcolm has a great attitude,” Coach
START BEING EMPOWERED.
Marquis said. “He’s always plays hard and he is a terrific person.” Before arriving at TJC, Moore had trouble with grades during his senior year of high school. This dilemma prevented him from being able to sign with any Division I college.
As a result, Coach Marquis reached out to Moore and invited him to come to visit Tyler Junior College. After visiting TJC, Moore immediately signed with the Apaches.
“Coach Marquis really took me under his wing and taught me stuff I wish I had known a long time ago,” Moore said. “Before coming to TJC to play basketball, I used to only play with my back towards the basket and that’s all I could really do, but when I came to TJC, Coach Marquis worked with me on some things and he taught me how to dribble better and become a better scorer.”
Anything short of getting to Kansas and the ultimate goal of a national championship will not satisfy the Apaches.
“Ever since I got to TJC, I’ve wanted to accomplish leading us to a national championship,” Marquis said. “I can’t be in a better position to accomplish that than with the teammates I have around me.”
Getting to the regional tournament last season was a familiar destination for the Apaches.
Each of the last 5 years the Apaches have ended their season with losses in either the quarterfinals or semifinals of the regional tournament.
In 2006, they lost to San Jacinto in the region semifinals. In 2007 they lost to Navarro in the quarterfinals. In 2008 they lost to Panola also in the quarterfinals. In 2009 they lost to Paris Junior College in the semifinals and just last March they lost to Navarro in the quarterfinals.
Experience will have to carry the Apaches to the next step if they want to achieve more this season than the previous season.
“Me and Mitch played last year and we really experienced college ball and how different it was from high school basketball,” Moore said. “I grew up right next to the University of Iowa and I would go play against college players when
I was in high school. It’s more serious here at TJC and you can’t relax. TJC has a great tradition and we want to prove a lot of stuff. If we work hard, we can definitely go all the way to Kansas and win the national championship.”