Colonels ready for 2014-2015 basketball season

It’s finally November and for the Nicholls State University Men’s basketball team, the preparation for the 2014-2015 season has begun.

Returning this season to the Colonels are 10 letterwinners , along with three of five starters from the 2012-2013 season. Last season, the team extended its streak of conference tournament berths to the program’s sixth straight Southland Conference Tournament appearance. This season, the men’s team was selected to finish eighth by Southland Conference coaches and sports directors, as the league released is preseason polls last Wednesday.

As the team prepares for what’s expected to be a successful year for the squad, one area the team is focusing on while in practice is developing a defensive identity and working on playing as a team. With the addition of seven new players, emphasis on learning new plays and building team chemistry will play a key role in developing not only where the team stands now, but also how hard the team must work to be prepared to battle this year.

With the loss of two Colonels from last season, Jeremy Smith and Dantrell Thomas, the Colonels will look to new players to lead and carry the team, specifically in scoring.

Entering his eleventh season as head coach for men’s basketball team, Coach J.P. Piper expects his team, with the help of the new player additions, to be more balanced on the offensive end.

“Last year, we had two guys that did most of the scoring, and this year I believe we can do a better job balancing out the scoring. I expect players such as Sam McBeath, T.J. Carpenter and Amin Torres, guys that are naturally good scorers, to be able to score for us,” Piper said. “Also, with the addition of some players who are coming in this season from other programs, such as Richie Lewis and Quinton Thomas, hopefully we can look to them to score the ball as well.” Piper added.

Both Thomas, a 6-feet 2-inch freshman guard entering his first collegiate season from Duhnam High School, and Lewis, a sophomore transfer from Oakland Community College, are expected to help carry the load offensively.

Senior point guard Schane Rillieux will be the team’s lone senior this year as he plans to finish out his senior season and Nicholls career on a high note. Since the 2011-2012 season, the 6-feet 2-inch New Orleans native has started all but three games in his tenure as a Nicholls Colonel. Rillieux has started at the point guard position in every game he has played in, starting every game as a freshman, missing one game in his sophomore year and two in his junior season. With tons of knowledge and leadership capabilities, Rillieux will bring his familiarity to squad.
“Schane has a lot of experience and knows what it takes to win,” Piper said. “He know what the coaching staff expect and is able to communicate that to the guys.

“Our expectations for this year are easy, and that’s to put ourselves in the position to win a conference championship,” Rillieux said. “I believe we have all the tools we need to be a great team. It’s our job to come together as one and get the job done.”