November 6, 2013

North Country men have large numbers, new faces

SARANAC LAKE — Chad LaDue is still learning how to pronounce some of the names on his North Country Community College men’s basketball roster.

There are 20 players on this year’s roster, including 10 from outside the United States.

“Of the 20 players we have, 14 are freshmen and there’s a lot of learning going on,” LaDue said. “We have only three players back from last year and three sophomores who transferred in.

“Michael Boyea is our only returning starter, while Donovan Patraw and Srdjan Grcic saw some action for us off the bench. The rest of the guys weren’t wearing Saint uniforms last year. We actually have 17 new faces.

“I’m still getting to know the players and they’re still getting to know me. I didn’t expect to keep 20. But they decided to continue and put the work in. They were willing to do what it takes to stay on the roster. Every kid on the team is someone I recruited, so it’s hard not to keep them.”

The Saints open their 2013-14 season at 7 p.m. Wednesday at rival Clinton Community College.

“We don’t have a “stud” player on the team or one of the top 10 players in the region,” he said. “But we have a lot more good players than we’ve had and I like where we are. We scrimmaged against Division III teams and competed very hard against that level of talent. We didn’t back down from the challenge and got better and better.

“We have a lot of similar guys doing the same thing. I have a pretty good pulse on who our top eight to 12 players will be. What’s nice with a roster this large is that we have options. But the minutes start for real on Wednesday.”

LaDue doesn’t know what to expect from his team at this point.

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