Coach Bruce Chavka was certain the Lane Community College men had turned a corner in 2008 when the season ended in the NWAACC tournament.
Instead the Titans went 6-20 last season and tied the school record for most losses in a season.
Chavka’s solution? A near-complete roster dump.
The fourth-year coach released all but one player off last season’s roster, including seven freshmen and two redshirting freshmen. The lone survivor was sophomore guard Darrell Wilcox.
“I thought the talent was there, but we just couldn’t get the chemistry down,” Chavka said. “It was the weirdest thing. Off the court they hung out together, lived together, but on the court it was a whole different story. We lacked leaders. It was very frustrating.”
Thus, the Titans are a team of 10 freshmen, Wilcox and sophomore Quincy Alexander, a transfer from Clackamas.
Their inexperience has shown early in the season. Lane lost its first three games before finally winning its last game against the Concordia JV team. This weekend the Titans will host their annual Dale Bates Tournament.
“My freshmen are getting thrown to the wolves right now,” Chavka said. “Lots of growing pains. But that’s good. Let’s get it out of our system so we’re playing well in January and February and headed in the right direction.”
Mat Delaunay, a freshman guard from Gresham High, and Brandon Durham, a freshman forward from Silverdale, Wash., have played well early on, averaging roughly 15 points each. Durham initially signed with UC Irvine out of high school.
“It’s night and day with these guys,” Chavka said. “These guys are eating what we’re feeding them. … They’re all buying in.”
Appeared in print: Wednesday, Dec 9, 2009