December 26, 2006 > One veteran and a gang of rookies
One veteran and a gang of rookies
by Steve Michel
California State University East Bay (CSUEB) Head Basketball Coach Will Biggs faces a very unusual challenge this season. He's fielding a team composed of one returning senior and 13 freshmen.
Chasen Peterson, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound center is the only senior on the team. "Peterson missed most of last year with injuries, but he appears to be recovered so far this year and is playing well through our first three games" says Biggs. "The only thing Chasen needs to work on is blocking more shots. We look forward to him having a great senior season." Peterson, who is averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds per game so far, played on a state championship team at Saddleback Junior College in Southern California.
Top of the freshman group is 6-5 forward, Will Freedman, who is averaging 15 points per game. Of him Biggs says, "Will is a great all around basketball player. He is an excellent outside shooter, good rebounder and a strong defensive basketball player. We look for him to lead by example." The Pioneers will complement Peterson and Freedman with two more freshmen as guards. Shooting guard Scott Knox is averaging 11 points per game. Across the court, Jun Uchida is averaging 9 points per game, and according to coach Biggs, he is the teams best defensive guard. Rounding out the starting five is Billy Nunes, averaging 12 points per game.
The best reserve off the bench will be freshman, Zach Fleishman, who averaged 16 points per game his senior year at Hoover High in San Diego. "Zach sustained an ankle injury in our first game of the season, but once he gets better we look to him to be a major scoring threat for us. He is a great outside shooter and a solid rebounder," Biggs asserts. Fleishman is 6-foot-7 and weighs-in at 220 pounds.
Sixth man, and another freshman, is forward Jackson Garrett, 6-7, 165 pounds. Garrett hails from Ventura High School in Southern California. Biggs says, "Jackson is a good shooter but he needs to gain more weight and get stronger. If he does that we see him helping our team a lot."
Other freshman on the Pioneer roster include Jon Holder, a 5-foot-9, 140-pound hustling guard out of Alameda High School, who averaged 12 points per game his senior year. There is forward, Jay Arnold, from Fresno; Brian Braziel a 6-foot, 170 pound guard averaging 9 points per game so far this season. Matt Galven, a forward from Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo is expected to play a lot also. He is averaging 4 points per game in the Pioneers first three games. Biggs is looking for quality minutes off the bench from Guard Chaize McKenney, once he recovers from an ankle injury. McKenney has good size at 6-4, 180 pounds. He played his high school ball at Deer Valley High in Antioch.
"I really have enjoyed coaching these 13 freshman players so far this year, they have been giving 100% effort," Biggs notes. "The only problem we have had so far is that a couple of our players have gotten homesick! I think we have a chance to compete with the three best teams in our league which are Dominican, Holy Name and Menlo College."
CSUEB Pioneers lost their first two games of the season, then secured a close 66-64 win over Pacific Union College. They will host the Pioneer Classic Tournament, December 29-30.
CSUEB Pioneer Classic Tournament
December 29 - 30
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
For more information, call (510) 885-3528; or visit http://edschool.csuhayward.edu/departments/kpe/athletics/index.html