By Christopher Byline | Upstart sports gizmo
Expectations are extremely high for the 2014-15 Bass Lake University men’s basketball team and its impending glass-half-full season.
For the first time in what seems like beyond-recent-memory, the Beaver appear on the cusp of snatching a conference title and reaching an annually elusive berth in the postaseason tournament of the National Collegiate Union of Amateur Athletics Association (NCU(o)AAA) (NCU-lil-O-Triple-A).
A downside to those lofty hopes: Playing time could be scant for incoming former Bass Lake High star Vin Diagram.
Why? Because BLU head coach Park Zagel said so.
“This is finally our year,” Zagel said. “Young Mr. Diagram might not see much action right away, because, face it, we’re loaded. As it is, we have five guys who would have started for us two seasons ago and most of them can’t even attend practice sessions, because of roster limitations. I’m not just talking about taking part in practice — they can’t even think about attending practice (italics are my emphasis).” (Beacon’s parentheses).
Zagel took over the program in 2011, following the end of a legendary 45-year career by legendary head-helmsman Charles John James, who had compiled a .573 winning percentage since taking the job in 1966.
Coach James, as everyone called him — with exception of his immediate family and close friends — died on the bench from somewhat natural causes late in the season in a game at Toll-Road Tech, shortly following a timeout with his team trailing, 67-61, as the Beaver attempted to stage a furious rally, which fell short, resulting in a final score of 73-61.
He will be missed.
Recap of game in which Coach James passed away:
BLU — 27 34 — 61
TRT — 31 42 — 73
Leading scorers: Keithie Jackton (BLU, 17); Mannheim Steamroller (TRT, 18)
In-game deaths — Visiting coach
A — 511
Bass Lake opens the season Nov. 15 at home against Farm Business Institute (FBI).
BLU roster 2014-15:
Washington Adams (G)
Jackson Van Buren (G)
Tyler Polk (F)
Buchanan Lincoln (F-C)
Zachary Monroe (C-F)
Arthur Garfield (G-SF)
Cleveland Harrison-Cleveland (SG-small center)
Eugene Debs-McCarthy (PG-13)
Warren Coolidge-Hoover (6th man/blue-violet)
Roosevelt Truman (left tackle)
Jai-Alai Stephenson (designated hitter)
Vin Diagram (all positions)
Jem Brickston (redshirt graduate student)
BLU women’s basketball: Lady Beaver hope to make strides, led by returning starters Kennedy Johnson, Madison Taft and Taylor Fillmore-Pierce. Watch the Beacon for a possible preview.