Peninsula College men’s basketball
Head coach: Donald Rollman (first year)
2017-2018 record: 19-10 (second in North Division); second at NWAC tournament
Top returning players: G Eli’sha Sheppard (6-5), G James Buckley (6-2), G Luke Angevine (6-4)
Key newcomers: G Davien Harris-Williams (6-0), F/G Erik Kelly (6-5), G Keith Seldon (5-10), F Kalil Glover (6-8), F Liei Liei Panoam (6-8), F Malik Moore (6-6), G/F Samuel Kahapea (6-5)
The Peninsula College basketball men came within eight seconds of winning the NWAC championship last season, finally falling 90-83 in overtime to North Idaho.
The Pirates aren’t able to return many players from that sophomore-heavy squad with all of their stars moving on to four-year schools, but they got a lot of attention for their impressive postseason run and gained a lot of valuable lessons about how a team comes together.
The Pirates this year will be young, with nine freshmen joining five sophomores. They also have a new coach in Donald Rollman.
Rollman, an assistant coach on last year’s team, takes over for Mitch Freeman, who is now the head coach at Corban University in Salem, Ore.
“First thing you’ll hear from me is … we’re young,” said Rollman. “This is going to be a group effort.”
All of the big stars from last year have moved on — Marky Adams, a 6-10 player from Forks is now playing at St. Martin’s, Australian forward Trent Warren is playing for Cal State-East Bay, all-everything point guard Colby Jackson is at Chadron State and shooting guard Cameron Burton is at St. Catherine’s University.
Returning from last year’s team are three bench players who expected to be big contributors this year. Eli’sha Sheppard is a 6-5 guard who averaged 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game last year in just 18 minutes a game. James Buckley averaged 5.0 points a game, but came up huge for the Pirates in the NWAC tournament with a big game.
Also returning is Port Angeles High School product Luke Angevine.
“Eli’sha and James have really stepped up in leadership for us this year,” Rollman said. “We expect big years from those guys.”
Rollman also said Angevine is vastly improved and might be the best pure shooter on the team.
“He’ll get his opportunities this year. He’s going to be our zone buster,” Rollman said. The Pirates will play at least two or three teams this season that feature a 2-3 zone.
The Pirates were having a decent season last year before they caught fire. They began the season 12-8, but then went 7-2 down the stretch to finish second in the North Division.
Then, at the NWAC Tournament, they continued their hot streak, winning three straight games to make the championship game. And again, in the championship game, they played great and had a lead with eight seconds left to play.
“After Christmas, the team really came together,” Rollman said. “The second half of that season, they played for each other rather than with each other.”
Rollman expect to have a solid core of four to five players. And he expects Peninsula to compete for one of the four playoff slots in the North Division.
“We’ll have to learn a lot, but we have a good core that we an build on,” he said. One newcomer to keep an eye on is Davien Harris-Williams, a 6-0 guard from Clover Park that Port Angeles High players will remember well from the 2A district tournament. Harris-Williams averaged 26 points a game at Clover Park.
“He can score the ball and he’s mature for his age,” Rollman said. “With this skill level, he might be a one-year player.”
Another newcomer is Erik Kelly, the 4A Player of the Year in Alaska. Kelly is a 6-5 guard/forward from Juneau.
“He’s really athletic and can do a little bit of everything. He has the potential to have a big-time career, I was ecstatic when we got him signed. He had a monster career in Alaska,” Rollman said.
Keith Seldon is another new player to keep an eye on. This 5-10 guard from Las Vegas averaged 18 points a game in high school.
“Whatever needs to get done, he had gotten done,” Rollman said.
Though the Pirates lost 6-10 Adams, who was a force on defense both blocking and altering shots, Peninsula is actually all-around bigger this year, Rollman said. Other new big players include 6-8 forward Kalil Glover of Upland, Calif., 6-8 forward Liei Liei Panoam of Anchorage, Alaska, 6-6 forward Malik Moore from Las Vegas and 6-5 guard/forward Samuel Kahapea from Hawaii.
Other newcomers include Nyair Cleveland of Spanaway, a transfer from Centralia College, K’Lum Strickland of Portland, Ore., and Andrew Thomas of Dallas.
Another newcomer is Leo Gonzales, a 6-5 forward from Forks.
“He was attending Peninsula last year. We saw him working out at the gym and he introduced himself to us. The more and more I got to know him, the more I wanted to give him an opportunity,” Rollman said.