TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County College men’s basketball team has no slogan, no motto for this season.
However, what the Vikings will have is team play.
“We have no slogan,” said Patrick Boylan, the team’s first-year head coach, “but our best message is being unselfish and sacrificing for the team. I am excited. We have a lot of unselfish guys, which is great. They are not worried about their own statistical glory. They trust their teammates. At the junior college level, a lot of guys play just to get statistics, just to get to the next level.”
Crisp ball movement will be a feature of the offense.
“Our guys love to move the ball,” Boylan said. “They will sacrifice their good shot to get a teammate a great shot. We will move the ball inside out and we will use a lot of perimeter shooting. That should be one of our biggest strengths. Our guys will have the freedom to shoot as long as the shot taken is within the rhythm of the offense and is not a selfish shot. They will play a very unselfish brand of basketball and I am looking forward to it.”
The Vikings hope to baffle opponents with several defenses.
“We would like to ideally be a pressing team,” Boylan said. “We will use a couple of different defenses to try to keep the opposing team off guard. We want to make the other team make the adjustments. We want to trap in the corner and trap at the free throw line. The main goal is to not let the other team get comfortable. We don’t want the other team adapting and adjusting.”
OCC comes off a 19-12 overall record, including 12-8 in the Garden State Athletic Conference. The Vikings were 11-4 at home.
They return just one player, 6-foot-5 sophomore guard-forward R.J. Laing, a former Toms River High School South Indian. Laing averaged 4.8 points and 18.9 minutes per game for OCC where he appeared in 31 games and started 14.
“His leadership has been great,” Boylan said. “He was a substitute last year, but he will have a much bigger role this year. He has been doing a tremendous job. He has expanded his game. Last year, he was down in the paint (inside). This year, he has the freedom to step out and showcase that he can shoot the ball.”
Boylan hopes former Toms River North players Patrick Marinaccio and Sean O’Donnell also play big roles. Both are freshman guards. Marinaccio stands 6-foot-2 and O’Donnell is a 6-footer.
“The biggest thing about Patrick is his toughness,” Boylan said. “He is our glue guy. He does a little bit of everything. He has stepped in as a freshman and has been able to lead. He is aggressive on the boards. He can shoot. He won’t get us 20 points per game, but if he has an off night we are going to be in trouble.”
O’Donnell figures to deliver scoring punch.
“He is an absolute lights out shooter,” Boylan said. “We are trying to expand the other areas of his game. He helps us space the floor with his three-point shooting ability.”
The starting point guard is 6-foot-2 freshman Nico Montano, who hails from Jackson Liberty.
“We have had a few injuries and he has had to grow up quickly, but the talent is there,” Boylan said. “We are working on his ability to be our floor leader. He is quick and can run an offense.”
The team’s tallest player is 6-foot-7 freshman forward Jack Waddleton, a 190-pounder out of Point Pleasant Boro.
“He will come off the bench,” Boylan said. “He really looks good so far. He has been improving. He will have the chance to step out from beyond the arc and shoot for the first time in his career. He is one to watch out for in due time.”
Lakewood graduate Alfred Demby, a 6-foot-5 freshman forward, offers athleticism.
“He is our best athlete,” Boylan said. “He brings the physical prowess we have been lacking. He is our junk yard dog. He can shoot it and play down low (inside). He will have some highlight film dunks. He is probably three or four years removed from high school. He is a very explosive athlete and has good size (185 pounds) as well.”
Southern Regional graduate Brian Kornse, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound freshman guard, served in the United States Armed Forces.
“He’s 30 years old,” Boylan said. “It’s good to have a guy like him on the team. When someone on the team is complaining about a cramp, that player will see Brian was overseas fighting for our country. That player won’t have much to complain about.”
Boylan also hopes for production from Edward Jones, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard from Long Branch; Jason Porter, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard from South; Damien Singleton, a 6-foot-1 freshman guard from North; France Jacques, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from North; Isaiah Hill, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Manchester; Justin McKenzie Simon, a 6-foot-1 freshman guard from Jackson Memorial, and Kenneth Barrow Jr., a 6-foot freshman guard from Long Branch.
“We will play almost like the (Golden State) Warriors play,” Boylan said. “We will space our shooters. I want shooters all over the place. If we can string a couple of runs together, it’s a gut punch for the opposing defense.”
Boylan, 28, a Belmar resident, was an ex-associate head coach of the Montgomery County College (Pa.) men’s team. He played for Pennsbury High School (Pa,), Bucks County College (Pa.) and Delaware Valley University.
“Coaching at OCC has been very exciting and I am loving it,” he said. “It is exciting because I have my own team and I am preparing it to play the way I want them to play. Our freshmen have some nerves, but I feel they will be able to play through them.
Practices are demanding.
“We watch as much film as possible and we have intensity,” Boylan said. “Everything is game like. Fouls are called. We want the guys who have never played college basketball to have a feeling of what the college game is like. Our players have been receptive. It is more a matter of preparing them for the speed of the game. That is tough as the guys are used to playing against the same players each day in practice. We did not have any scrimmages.”
The team’s assistant coach is former Toms River East and OCC player James Stockton.
“We just want to qualify for the Region XIX Tournament,” Boylan said. “There is a very good chance that we will take some lumps along the way. We are working toward getting better for next year. I hope we will have a very deep returning class.”
The Vikings opened their regular season with a 102-67 road loss to Raritan Valley Community College despite a team-high 22 points from Demby. Laing netted 15 points and Marinaccio tossed in 12.
Demby buried 10 of 13 shots from the field, including two of eight from downtown, and made one of two free throws. He added five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 22 minutes as a starter.
Laing knocked down six of 13 shots from the floor where he was 0-for-4 from long range. He picked off a team-high 22 rebounds, including 17 off the defensive glass, and added two assists and one block. He started and played 32 minutes.
Marinacco was five of 12 from the field, including one of three from behind the arc, and one of two from the foul line. He added five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 22 minutes as a starter.
With five starters scoring in double figures, the Vikings bested Montgomery County Community College (Pa.) 102-86 in their home opener to even their record at 1-1.
Demby bucketed a team-high 22 points on nine of 13 from the field, three of seven from downtown and one of five from the foul line. He added six rebounds, four assists and one block in 25 minutes.
O’Donnell connected for 19 points on seven of 12 from the field, including five of 10 from long range. He added six rebounds, three assists and one block in 34 minutes as a starter.
Laing put home 19 points on six of nine from the floor and seven of 12 from downtown. He added 10 rebounds and one block in 28 minutes as a starter.
Marinaccio finished with 17 points on five of 13 from the field and seven of 10 from the foul line. He added eight rebounds, four assists and one steal in 30 minutes as a starter.
Montano, who started and played 31 minutes, netted 10 points and added six assists, two rebounds and one steal.
The loss dropped Montgomery to 1-6.