PLATTSBURGH — It’s been a year since a Clinton Community College women’s basketball team was seen on a court.
That will change this year, however, as the Cougars are back in action for the 2014-2015 season.
Led by head coach Brandon Siskavich, who is in his first year as a coach at the collegiate level, Clinton hopes to have a successful first season in the rebuilding process of the program.
Since the program is just starting up again, the team lacks players with experience at the college level.
However, Clinton’s first-year head coach sees it as a welcomed challenge.
“Not having a team for the last (season), that was something that I had to step into and accept it as a head coach, but also kind of look at it as a challenge for me to try to get Clinton back in women’s basketball,” Siskavich said.
“It’s just basically taking what I know, and breaking it down to their understanding so that they understand it. Then, just really trying to practice it every single day and just execute, and get them to get in the flow of things.”
Siskavich, who graduated from nearby Peru High School in 2005, was a four-year starter at SUNY Potsdam and also played professionally in Spain and Mexico in 2011.
Following his playing time overseas, Siskavich was offered a three-month coaching position at the professional-level in China where he coached the Shanxi Brave Dragons in a men’s basketball league in the Shanxi Providence.
In addition to his coaching stint in China, Siskavich has also coached modified and junior varsity boys’ teams at Potsdam Central and Peru Central Schools.
With plenty of experience, Siskavich is excited for his first opportunity to coach at the collegiate level.
“It’s just a great feeling knowing that all this time I’ve been striving to be successful with basketball,” Siskavich said. “(Going from) stepping down from playing the game to coaching at the college-level and not just that, but coaching girls. I never thought I’d be coaching girls, but, since I’ve been here, I’m having the best time of my life. The girls are great, and the experience is definitely worth the change from coaching men to women. They’re a great group of girls.”
While Siskavich is happy with the team that has been assembled, he knows that it’s going to take a lot of work from him and the players in order to be successful.
With just a few sophomores on the team, the Cougars will be relying on young talent this season.
Leading the way for the upperclassmen, however, is center Sharon Yarbrough and forward Sierra Snow, who played at nearby AuSable Valley.
Despite not having many upperclassmen, Siskavich isn’t concerned about how the lack of experience may affect the team throughout the season.
In his opinion, all the players need to do is give their full effort and then everything else will fall into place.
With this season being the first step in the rebuilding process for the Clinton women’s basketball program, Siskavich isn’t focused on a goal in terms of wins and losses.
Instead, the first-year coach is more focused on other aspects of the game.
“Because of our situation that we’ve been in for the last two years, and then having a team this year, I told them that I don’t care what all of the other teams do. I only care about what we do as a team,” Siskavich said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re the best team in the conference or the last team in the conference … As long as we stay together, and we try build each other up, and stay positive and have faith in one another, (then) the results are endless.
"The sky is the limit. That’s what I bring to the table every single day.”
The Cougars open their season at home as they take on SUNY Delhi on Saturday at 2 p.m.