Column: Experience may help men’s basketball team be successful

Sean Hastings, Sport's Editor

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There will be just two freshmen on this year’s roster for the Eastern men’s basketball team, and there will be a few key members from last year returning to the court.

Cornell Johnston is back for his junior season and, as the team’s point guard, will be one of the leaders for this Panther offense, just as he was in 2015. Johnston played the most minutes last year at 1,131, which is 238 more minutes than sophomore guard Casey Teson, who had the second most played.

Johnston was by far the team leader in assists with 171. He was the only member of the team to reach triple digits. He scored the third most points on the team at 331. Johnston, as just a sophomore, was a huge threat for Eastern, and if he can do it again this year, and with Teson having one year under his belt, Eastern basketball can make some noise.

As a freshman, Teson was the team’s most successful 3-point shooter. He shot 38.8 percent beyond the arc, hitting 64-of-165 attempts. Teson saw starting minutes as a freshman, and now with a year under his belt, he has the potential to be even better in his second year.

Eastern added five new players in the off-season, bringing in junior transfer guard Montell Goodwin from Mineral Area College, junior transfer wing Ray Crossland from John A. College, guard Logan Koch, the team’s only freshman, red-shirt junior transfer guard DeVantae’ Price from Kankakee Community College and junior transfer forward Muusa Dama.

One thing the Panthers will not be lacking in 2016 is height. The team has eight players over 6 feet 5 inches, including two standing at 6 feet 9 inches.

The start of the season is still a while away, and the team has time to fix things they see worth fixing, but based off of last year’s players returning, 2016 can be a good year for the Panthers, and maybe they can get past that first round in the tournament.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]