Ravens Basketball Prepares to Rebound with Veteran Roster


Courtesy of San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

The 2014-2015 Ravens Basketball Team from left (top row): Albert Talley, Jr., Justin Hollins, Naseem Hadrab, Candido Sa, Chase Arledge, Sadiq Inuwa, Jevonlean Hedgeman, Ilker Er, Scott R. Gernander; from left (bottom row): Michael Hunter, Donte Thomas, Naiel Smith, Michael Carey, Dana Raysor, Quincy Jackson, Willie Mangum

San Jacinto College Men’s Basketball kicks off the new season against Ranger College Nov. 1 sporting a roster of returning veterans.

Last year, the Ravens went 23-7 with a new team, but this year, six players are coming back including Dana Raysor, who tore his ACL during last season. Additionally, Donte Thomas and Naiel Smith transferred to San Jac from other universities further increasing the team’s proficiency level.

Men’s Basketball Head Coach Scott Gernander said he considers this team “to have a little bit of experience.”

Currently, the team is led by three captains voted in by their fellow players.

“So, I like to see where the guys are at; with who they believe is the leader,” Gernander said. “The captains are Jay Hedgeman, Naiel Smith, and Michael Carey.”

He said he is confident in his entire roster but in a tight pinch, Willie Mangum might be his pick because “he’s gutsy.”

“You know his shot selections at times can be bad, but I kind of like that about him,” Gernander said. “You know he’s not afraid to take the big shot.”

Moreover, he said they will face tough competition this season but there is speculation as to which school he considers their biggest threat.

“People want me to say Lee College because they are on the other side of the bridge,” Gernander said. “Lamar State College Port-Arthur, in my eyes, are our rival.”

Meanwhile, Raven’s co-captain Michael Carey said this season features more guards, more athleticism and strong shooting. Keeping a steady work ethic separates the good from the average players, Carey added.

“You always aim better, and that’s how you can tell if you got better,” he said.

Furthermore, Carey equated the team to a cohesive family led by a supportive staff.

“The coaches are very honest people, and they look out for us,” Carey said. “There is more than just basketball with them. They care about us as individuals.”

He further added that the support and dedication help players accomplish great things as long as they stay focused in the classroom.

Carey said, “It is all about hard work.”