BCC men’s basketball team is ranked No. 3 nationally

first_img Brookdale Community College’s Paul Little (No. 34) puts up a shot against Ocean County College during the Dec. 20 game played on Brookdale’s home floor in the Robert J. Collins Arena in Lincroft. The Jersey Blues, ranked No. 3 in the country, remained undefeated with a 94-57 victory. ERIC SUCAR staff Brookdale Community College men’s basketball coach Paul Cisek had quite a task in front of him this year.How do you find replacements for a team that went 28-4 and finished sixth at the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III national championships? He did not have a single returning player on the 2012-13 Jersey Blues.“We had not one player back,” Cisek pointed out. “We have a new 11.”So, how are the “new 11” doing? In a tribute to Cisek’s recruiting skills and ability to quickly define players’ roles, Brookdale is 10-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country. The Jersey Blues haven’t missed a beat.“I got some pretty decent local talent,” Cisek said of his recruiting class.Among those is freshman Neil Thompson from Monmouth Regional High School, who has taken this team under his wing. “He’s a leader and a competitor,” Cisek said. “He gets [the team] to play hard. He’s tough and tenacious.”Because of his defensive prowess, Cisek has him cover the opposition’s best player. He’s averaging 4.1 steals a game, along with dishing out 5.6 assists per game on offense. He’s also scoring 16.1 points per game, which is second highest on the team.Cisek is using a three-guard set with Amir Gilliam (a transfer from Pratt, Kan., who lives in Long Branch) and Paul Little (Hawthorne-Christian).The forwards are David Rosado (Saddle Day River) and Jake Nickerson (Barringer).The 6-foot-3-inch-tall Nickerson is Brookdale’s leading scorer at 16.7.The bench is very talented and gives Cisek a number of options. Damian Williams (Bayonne), for instance, is the best shooter on the team and he can bring instant offense into the game. If Cisek wants to go with a bigger lineup, he has Brian Adams (Manalapan) and Anthony Seward (Neptune), who are both 6 feet 5 inches tall.Sammy Singletary (Paterson), Rickey Stevens (Monmouth Regional) Casey Skievaski (Freehold Township) and Cory Soanes (Matawan) are solid guards who can score and distribute.The formula for Brookdale’s early-season success has been simple — the Jersey Blues get after it on the defensive end of the floor.“What’s unique and much different about this team is that we are very, very quick,” Cisek said. “We play great defense.“We hustle and play with great intensity,” he added. “We play straight man-toman full court and get after it. We keep coming at them, creating turnovers.”Transition baskets off turnovers have been a big part of the Brookdale offense that is averaging 77.1 points per game, while the team surrenders just 56.9 points a game on defense. Brookdale’s offense has been very balanced with Rosado (13.1), Williams (12.6) and Singletary (11.0) all averaging double figures in points.One concern that Cisek did have was rebounding, because the Jersey Blues lacked a true big man under the glass. Not to fear. Their tenacious defense includes their play under the glass. They are plus-13 (63-50) in rebounding without anyone averaging in double figures. Little, Nickerson, and Rosado are each averaging better than five a game.There’s something else driving this team and it might best be labeled as intangible.“The best part about it, they don’t want to lose,” said Cisek. “They are energized. They believe they can win.”It’s more than believe after 10 games. The Jersey Blues know they can win.Brookdale will open its 2013 home schedule on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. against Manor College. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img read more