Bellevue College’s men’s basketball season underway

Coming into this week, the Bellevue College men’s basketball team boasted a 9-3 record, with those three losses being once to Highline and twice to Chemeketa. This week held two games, one on Wednesday at Centralia and another on Thursday at home against Elite Prep.
While Wednesday’s game ended in a 100-83 win, with Bellevue holding a double-digit point lead for a majority of it, Head Coach Donald Brady cites their play as uneven. He went on to say “our defense was pretty solid, holding them to 40 percent shooting and only 24 percent from the three-point line.” The big negative was that they lost the rebound game 41-33. Yonathan Michael led the team in points with 21, followed by Trey Nelson with 17 and Jaden Vollmen with 10.
Thursday’s game against Elite Prep went less smoothly, and ended in an 82-78 loss. The same three members of the team led in points; Vollmen scored 25, Nelson scored 15 and Michael ended with 10 more. Coach Brady cites the biggest problem to be their turnovers, as they lost possession of the ball 19 times over the course of the game. The rebounds were certainly closer, with Bellevue only losing 37-36. Contrary to Wednesday’s game however, Elite Prep ended up making 50 percent of their 3-point shots.
Regardless of the one loss this week, Bellevue still holds a strong 10-4 record and Coach Brady holds them as a very strong team. In terms of their strengths, he credited “our passing and shot selection. We don’t take many bad shots and our group is very unselfish. It’s led to a balanced offensive attack. Our defense is improving and while it was a weakness to start the year it has now become a strength.” On the other hand, he noted that the team as a whole struggles with rebounding, stating that “our main focus right now is trying to improve our rebounding. We do not offensive rebound by design, but we have to get better on the defensive end.”
Expanding on the positives, he compared his team to the legendary San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association, citing their ability to play evenly and fairly as well as the depth in the roster. Multiple players from the reserve members of the squad were putting up double-digit point totals throughout their games.
While holding a respectable record, Bellevue is only fourth from the bottom of 34 teams in terms of their total rebounds per game, and second from the bottom in the margin of rebounding difference between themselves and the opponents. On the other side, the rebounding margins are somewhat offset by their defensive pressure. Bellevue is second in opponent 3-point percentage, fifth in overall opponent field goal percentage, and seventh in points allowed per game.
After their last game against Highline, the team will prepare for a tournament coming up in a double round robin format between the teams in the league. This will start on Jan. 10 with a game at home against Edmonds, which will then transition into a multi-week series of games to truly determine who the superior team in the league is.
While the loss against Elite Prep is still a rough sight, Brady stated that it will “wake us up a little and address some things we need to work on.” It was unusual for the team to struggle to get into the flow offensively, but this gives them a point of practice for the upcoming tournament.
As it stands right now, Bellevue has not had their chance to play any of the teams in the tournament, so the team will not know what to expect. It will be up to them to mend their weaknesses during practice to become a dominant force.