Each player will be counted on to propel the Hawks throughout the 2019-20 season when the Northeast men's basketball team opens its season against Otero Junior College at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 at the Cox Activities Center in Norfolk.
"The returning sophomores bring an abundance of playing experience and an exuberance of leadership, knowledge and heart that will resonate with the incoming freshman," head coach Dan Anderson said. "The Northeast men's basketball team will take on a much different look adding to its experienced sophomore class of Emmette Page, Daniel Akuei, Asher Scavella, Ben Moxness, Zack James and Luke Rollman. The sophomores will add depth and knowledge to the bench and starting five as they transition into the start of the season."
Regarded as one of the top point guards at the junior college level, Page brings a dynamic play-making ability to the Hawks' front court. As a freshman last season, Page started in 26 games and shot 43 percent from the field and 39 percent from the three-point line, averaging 15.7 points per game. He also dished out four assists per game, while being named Second Team All-Region.
Akuei brings a strong-scoring ability after averaging 7.5 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field. Moxness was one of the top three-point shooters in ICCAC last season, nailing 43 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, while averaging 7.1 points per game.
Scavella, James and Rollman will be vital pieces coming off the bench for the Hawks.
The incoming freshmen class for Northeast will give the Hawks much needed depth, especially around the rim.
"The freshmen add a much needed inside presence, as well as shooting and overall quickness," Anderson said. "Jordan Okonji, Abdul Wurie and Noah Wuor will add significant size inside. Michael Anderson, Merrix Denn, Deon'ta Dinker and Oyiti Amum will bring speed, quickness and depth as the season gets underway. Ethan Marshall, Justin Hiser and Dennis Herrea will add their sharp-shooting skills to the squad.
Hailing from London, Okonji averaged a double-double his senior season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Wuor averaged 12 points and nine boards per game and was also named Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Tinker joins the Hawks as a transfer from Dodge City Community College and adds immediate depth at guard. Also, at the guard position, both Denn and Amum give the Hawks a true-scoring ability. Denn scored more than 1,000 points in his career and led his team to a runner-up finish in 2018. Amum averaged 15.8 points and eight rebounds per game for the Casey Cavs where he shot 43 percent from the three-point line. Anderson was a three-time letterwinner in basketball at Lincoln Southeast High School under head coach Jonah Bradley. He was a three-time Honorable Mention selection by the Lincoln Journal Star.
"With the addition of the incoming freshmen, the Hawks add depth to several key position – most notably in the front," Anderson added. "However, there is also added defensive and offensive weapons in the backcourt with the addition of several freshmen. Effort is always something that is preached in practice. If the desired effort is given every drill, every practice, every game, success will follow the 2019-20 Northeast men's basketball team."
The road to Hutchinson, Kan., won't be an easy one for the Hawks. Perennial powers like Iowa Western Community College and Indian Hills Community College boast some of the best talent in the country.
"The keys to victory for the Hawks this season will be how well the players learn their roles and buy into how good they can be individually and, more specifically, as a team," Anderson added. "With the added depth and size, the team will compete at a high level. Combined speed, defensive prowess, the ability to push the ball and make plays in the open court, the Northeast men's basketball team will be a force in the conference."
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