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Coach Waters discusses youthful team

October 25, 2012

By Stephanie Metzger

With the 2012-2013 basketball season on the loom, men’s coach Gary Waters recently sat down with members of the local media to discuss the upcoming season.

Waters, who begins his seventh year with the Vikings, noted the successes of last season and a number of players to watch this year. He explained that this year’s team has changed from last year’s, primarily due to its youth.

“This is a different group, primarily because they’re young,” said Waters. “For one, they don’t know any better so you’ve got to help them and two, they’re more dedicated to what we do and they go out and just do it.”

The team lost five lettermen this year as Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, D’Aundray Brown and Aaron Pogue all graduated and Ike Nwamu transferred.

Last season started strong as the Vikings posted five straight wins, including a victory over seventh-ranked Vanderbilt. By the end of the season, the Vikings were plagued by injury, which served as a significant factor in the team’s late-season slide as they placed second in the Horizon League and fell to Stanford University in the first round of the NIT tournament.

There are six newcomers to the Vikings this year, though sophomore and Garfield Heights native Trey Lewis must sit out the season as a transfer from Penn State. Joining the team for this first time this year are Bryn Forbes, Josh Ivory, Junior Lomomba, Aaron Scales and Raphael Veira.

While the team works to grow and gain experience, Waters will also work to improve himself.

“With young kids, you’ve got to be patient,” Waters explained. “I’ve lost a little bit of that patience throughout the years, so I’m reading the book from John Wooden on patience. I’m going to try to be as patient as I can with this group in this first year, because I see something very special coming out of this team eventually.”

It may not be the youngest team Waters has coached during his career, but success from his teams of the past indicates that this year’s squad may become a formidable force in future years. Waters formerly coached at Kent State University, where he said he also coached a young team.

“I had one at Kent State my second year there and after a year, that team went to two NCAAs and a second round, so that team was pretty good. They were talented like this group is talented and they grew.”

Though coaching a younger team may be more of a challenge, it is not necessarily a negative. Waters said that the positive side of having a young team with six newcomers is that they’re getting experience. However, the team does not completely lack experience as there are seven returning players.

Leading the returnees is senior Tim Kamczyc. Kamzcyc, who started his Cleveland State career as a red-shirt walk-on, is the team’s only senior, but Waters is confident in the leader’s guidance.

“I think we’ve got a great leader this year and he’s taking on the challenge in Tim Kamczyc,” said Waters. “He’s got two semesters left in his MBA and now he’s using this as a part of his training for when he goes out into the real world as a business person.”

Waters said Kamczyc has grown and improved drastically during the Strongsville native’s time with the Vikings, and has pleasantly surprised in some areas of play. Kamczyc led the nation in shooting percentage last season, which Waters was not even aware of until Horizon League media day. As a result, Waters plans to ensure that Kamczyc will see possession of the ball more this year.

“That tells you how consistent he has been and it’s hard to be back-to-back years the best shooter in America, but if he can be consistent with his shooting, all I need to do is make sure he shoots more.”
With Kamczyc leading the pack, returnees Sebastian Douglas, Devon Long, Anton Grady, Marlin Mason, Luda Ndaye and Charlie Lee will work to return the Horizon League title to Cleveland State.

The first game of the regular season is scheduled for Nov. 9 against Grambling. Horizon League play with start Jan. 4 at Valparaiso.

The team’s motto this season is, “Finish strong”, but first, they must start right.