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Men's basketball: New faces give Vanguard a new outlook

November 06, 2001

Amara Aguilar

The "Boys" are back in town.

The Vanguard University men's basketball team is once again ready for

action. Ian Boys, a 6-foot-7 senior center, is the team's only returning

starter and he will look to provide leadership for the Lions this season.

He averaged 8.6 points and 5 rebounds per game last season.

"He has really developed over the summer and has really been playing

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well," VU Coach Stephen French said. "He is going to be one of the

physically stronger players in the league."

The Lions, lacking height last year, relied on their outside shooting.

This year's team is much bigger than last year's squad. Of the 10

newcomers, five are 6-4 or taller.

"Last year, we were quite small," French said. "We are going from a

team that was more guard-oriented to more post-oriented."

Key returners for the Lions include Garid Beeler, Gabe Goldman and

Shawn Corkery.

In addition to Boys, Beeler is the only other returning senior. The

6-2 guard averaged 5.3 points and 2.3 rebounds last year despite

suffering an injury toward the second half of the season.

"We sat down in the spring and talked about their senior year and how

you have to make every day count," French said. "(Boys and Beeler) are

really living up to that."

Goldman, a 6-7 sophomore forward, suffered a knee injury in practice

and has not played for three weeks. Corkery, a 6-0 forward, averaged 3.1

points last season.

Newcomers Leviticus Williamson, Damion Morbley, Shane McKim and Josh

Pierson should add depth.

Williamson, a 6-7 junior transfer from Notre Dame, will be a key

newcomer at forward.

"He is very athletic and very talented," French said. "He is going to

be a big part of our offense and defense."

Morbley, a 6-6 senior forward from Cal State Northridge, also brings

experience and maturity to Vanguard.

Williamson and Morbley are expected to contribute inside and

strengthen the team's rebounding.

McKim, a 6-3 senior point guard, is a transfer from Biola University

and Pierson, a 6-0 sophomore guard, is a transfer from Cal State

Fullerton.

Williamson, Morbley, McKim and Pierson will help fill the void left by

the graduation of Dennis Keane, who led the Lions in scoring with 17.9

points per game last season.

In addition to Keane, Vanguard lost starters Kemmy Burgess, Kevin

Candelaria and Ardis Curtis, who led the Lions and the Golden State

Athletic Conference with 4.7 assists per game.

Another key loss was Brandon Cablay, an occasional starter who

averaged 10.6 points per game.

"We have a lot of new faces," French said. "The last two years have

been tough in terms of numbers. Due to injuries and illness, only six or

seven guys would suit up. This year, we have 15 guys on the team."

With the exception of Goldman, this year's squad is healthy. And the

team has lofty goals.

"We want to win the conference and the national tournament," French

said. "We have four goals every year: 1. Not to be outworked by anybody

and be hardworking; 2. Be a smart team; 3. Be unselfish; 4. Have fun."

The Lions finished last season 8-22 and went 4-14 to finish eighth in

the GSAC.

"We are going to be an exciting team to watch," French said. "In the

last couple of years, our record has not been good, but we've been

competitive and fun to watch. This year we are going to be a fun team to

watch."

The Lions host a scrimmage against UC San Diego tonight at 6 and will

head to the Azusa Pacific University Tournament, Friday and Saturday.

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