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Men's College Basketball: Raiders will have new look this season

As head coach Jim Russell leads his team into the season, and starts his 20th year at Central Lakes College, the foundation of his team, as always, will be the key to a successful season.

Jim Russell
Jim Russell

As head coach Jim Russell leads his team into the season, and starts his 20th year at Central Lakes College, the foundation of his team, as always, will be the key to a successful season.

That is the play of the point guard and the post and the opportunities that open up.

The Raiders open their season at 8 p.m. Friday at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls. With Shawn McGee, Avery Smith, TrayVon Lackey, Nick Wiesmann and Lamontrell Fuller returning, the Raiders are looking to establish their identity early in the season.

"In the last two years, with Darsean Woodson at point guard, we were 26-4 both of those years," Russell said, "so with our ballhandler being gone, and our post guys being gone too, that gives us a whole new look."

"This year we have one returning starter, Nick Wiesmann who is more of a defensive player, so this year we are asking him to step it up on both sides a little more and be bigger than he was last year and I am excited for Nick. Other than that, I think we have a whole new face."

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The Raiders also have experience coming back at the point.

"Shawn McGee played for us last year and probably won our quarterfinal game against Ridgewater last year at the state tournament and he played great defense. He will start at point guard for us," said Russell. "Lamontrell Fuller, who came off the bench and averaged double figures, is back. That is who we are. It's an interesting new group and I am looking forward to see what we can do."

Russell has seen the game evolve during his 20 years with the Raiders. One of the big changes has been the importance of perimeter shooting. He believes that with his system of recruiting strong point guard and post players, it creates opportunities for other players on the team.

"If you can be a threat more than one way, it is to your advantage," Russell said. "I think that has always been our case. Our all-conference players have been a guard and a post and to me that shows that we are balanced and my system has always been that way. It gives every kid a chance to improve and that is my goal as a coach."

Russell will also have an opportunity as his son Jacob, a Brainerd High School graduate, joins the Raiders as a freshman.

"I have talked to a lot of my colleagues on advice for coaching my kid and what I got from all of them is that not a lot of people get that chance, and I need to take it," Jim Russell said. "I treat Jacob like a recruit and like any other player and it's fun because I am an open book and he knows how I feel. I think that helps us with the new players to relate to them."

Raiders roster

No., name, position, year, height, hometown

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0-Tanner Heinsius, G, Fr, 5-10, Brooten

1-Shawn McGee, G, So, 6-0, Phoenix

2-Avery Smith, G, So, 5-9, Milwaukee

3-Keonte' Jenkins, G, Fr, 6-0, Fort Wayne, Ind.

4-Osirus Washington, G, Fr, 6-3, Brooklyn Park

5-Jacob Russell, G, Fr, 6-1, Brainerd

10-Jon Olson, G, Fr, 6-3, Cold Spring

11-TrayVon Lackey, G, So, 6-4, Indianapolis

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12-Earnest Cowser, G, So, 6-2, Milwaukee

13-Sheddrick Porter, G, Fr, 6-3, Fort Wayne, Ind.

14-Toby Flannigan, G, Fr, 6-3, Paynesville

15-Darrelle Bacon, G, Fr, 6-3, Indianapolis

20-Thomas Kornbaum, F, Fr, 6-6, Little Falls

21-Shyheem Murray, G-F, Fr, 6-6, Fridley

22-Troey McEuens, F, Fr, 6-7, Milwaukee

23-Timothy Boyd, G-F, Fr, 6-4, Anderson, Ind.

32-Nick Wiesmann, F, So, 6-7, Moorhead

33-Lamontrell Fuller, G-F, So, 6-4, Indianapolis

Raiders schedule

Fri. 11-11, at MN State Fergus Falls 8 p.m.

Fri. 11-18, United Tribes TC 8 p.m.

Sat. 11-19, Bismarck State College 2 p.m.

Wed. 11-23, at St. Cloud Technical 8 p.m.

Wed. 11-30, University of Wisconsin-Superior JV 8 p.m.

Fri. 12-2, Riverland CC 7:45 p.m.

Sat. 12-3, Anoka-Ramsey CC 3 p.m.

Fri. 12-9, at Ridgewater College 7:45 p.m.

Sat. 12-10, at Minnesota West 3 p.m.

Fri. 12-16, CLC Winter Invitational 8 p.m.

Sat. 12-17, CLC Winter Invitational 6 p.m.

Fri. 1-6, CLC Winter Classic 8 p.m.

Sat. 1-7, CLC Winter Classic

* Fri. 1-13, Itasca CC 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 1-14, at Fond du Lac Tribal CC 3 p.m.

* Wed. 1-18, Vermilion CC 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 1-21, Mesabi Range 3 p.m.

* Fri. 1-27, at Rainy River CC 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 1-28, at Hibbing CC 3 p.m.

* Wed. 2-1, Northland 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 2-4, at Vermilion 3 p.m.

* Wed. 2-8, at Mesabi Range 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 2-11, Rainy River 3 p.m.

* Fri. 2-17, at Itasca 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 2-18, at Northland 3 p.m.

* Wed. 2-22, Fond du Lac 7:45 p.m.

* Sat. 2-25, Hibbing 3 p.m.

Fri. 3-3, MCAC - Region 13 at Anoka

Sat. 3-4, MCAC - Region 13 at Anoka

Sun. 3-5, MCAC - Region 13 at Anoka

* Northern Division: CLC, Fond du Lac, Hibbing, Itasca, Mesabi Range, Northland, Rainy River, Vermilion

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The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Hibbing Friday, Feb. 3.
The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Gogebic Community College Friday, Feb. 3.