The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

January 5, 2014

NOC Enid basketball gets back to work

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma Enid men’s basketball head coach Greg Shamburg isn’t fretting about his limitations after having a torn Achilles tendon repaired over the Christmas holidays.

He’ll have to coach sitting down leaving the moving around to assistants Drew Bridges and Zach Howe when the Jets resume practice.

“That’s all right,’’ Shamburg said. “I’ll be fine. I’m ready to go. I’m tired of sitting around the house. I want to get back in the gym.  The guys are ready to start practicing again.’’

NOC Enid (9-4) hasn’t played since an impressive 79-57 win over Eastern on Dec. 5.

“The break was a little long, but it was good for us,’’ Shamburg said. “The guys will be excited about coming back.’’

While Shamburg is on the injury list, freshman Jordan Evans is coming back from a broken hand, which sidelined him the last six games of the first half. Evans was averaging 13.1 points at the time of his injury, including back-to-back games of 24 points against the Bacone JV and 21 against Cowley.

“We missed him a lot down the stretch,’’ Shamburg said. “He was really getting comfortable when he got hurt. It will take him a while to get back in shape, but he’ll be fine.’’

Evans’ shooting was especially missed in the four losses — 82-73 to Cowley, 87-83 to Seminole, 79-76 to Connors and 77-74 to NOC Tonkawa.The Jets had second-half leads in all four games.

“We should have won all four games, but we didn’t play poorly,’’ Shamburg said. “The guys were ready to play and they played hard. The  freshmen just have to learn to become college basketball players, which I think they will do.’’

His team’s inexperience was one reason Shamburg doesn’t like playing conference games in December.

“But we don’t have a choice about that,’’ Shamburg said. “Freshmen do have a learning curve.’’

Ben Berry, coming back from a broken foot that sidelined him last season, didn’t show any rust, averaging 15.7 points per game.

“We knew he would be a very good player,’’ Shamburg said.

Two freshmen — Cornell Neal (11.4) and Daryck Jones (12.9) averaged in double figures as well.

“Cornell played on a team (Midwest City) that’s been to the state finals,’’ Shamburg said. “We knew he would be a good player. He didn’t turn it over a lot.”

Jones finished the first semester with six-straight games in double figures, including 20 against Seminole.

“He didn’t shoot the ball early, but once he got comfortable, he started making shots,’’ Shamburg said. “We look for him to continue that.’’

Freshman Josh Palmer, a 6-6 inside player out of Union, was in double digits four of the last five games after having only scored 31 points in the first eight.

“Jordan was up-and-down,’’ Shamburg said. “The key to the second half is getting our big guys to get more consisent. Sometimes they would get in foul trouble and get lost in the game.They did get better as the season went along.’’

Luis Morales, a 6-7 freshman, had a season-high 19 points against Central Nebraska Nov. 30. He was in double figures four times.

Corey Alopaugh and Roy Owens, other freshmen inside players, had their moments as well when in Shamburg’s deep rotation.

DeAngelo Smith, a 5-10 guard from Oklahoma City Douglass, finished out the semester with 17 against Eastern. He had 19 against Rhema Bible, 16 against Bacone JV and 17 against Tabor JV.

“He’s another guy who has a lot of talent, but needs to be more consistent,’’ Shamburg said.

Jovan Crnic, a 6-5 guard from Serbia, was “playing well’’ until he sprained his ankle, forcing him to miss the Eastern game. Shamburg expects him to be healthy for the second half.

Sophomores John Lazenby III and Marquavius Williams were solid role players off the bench. Lazenby was in double figures four times.

The Jets are back in action at 7 p.m. Monday when they host Hillsdale Christian at the Mabee Center.

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