SPJC shooting for improvement in second half
By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 17, 2000
The first phase of the St. Petersburg Junior College men's basketball season is over.
Coach Earnest Crumbley can only hope the new year will bring better luck.
The Trojans aren't awful, but at 7-7 they're not great.
After a 4-1 start, freshman point guard Donnell Johnson tore ligaments in his left ankle during a practice drill.
He will be out until the new year, and that's forced Crumbley to shake up his lineup.
Freshman Brian Morrow and sophomore Daryl Saine, who missed last season with a knee injury, have been used at the point even though it's not their natural position.
The result has been some sporadic play and a 3-6 record.
The Trojans lost 79-59 to Indian River Community College on Dec. 9. Their next game isn't until Dec. 29 against Broward Community College.
"Donnell is a leader on the floor, and we're missing that right now," Crumbley said. "We've had a hard time getting the ball up and down the floor.
"But we hope to have Donnell back in January and then we hope to be healthy for the conference schedule," the coach said.
That's Phase 2 of the season.
Starting on Jan. 6, SPJC plays 12 straight games against Suncoast Conference opponents.
In order to be competitive, Johnson needs to return and sophomores Kyle Schueller and Lonnell West must remain hot.
Schueller, who attended Lakewood and transferred this season from Central Florida, and West, who attended Lakewood , both score about 20 points per game.
"They've played very well, especially in the last three games," Crumbley said. "I think the break will do us good. We can get guys healthy.
"We break the season down into three divisions. The first division is the 14 games where we find out what we need to work on.
"Then comes the second division, where we're playing our conference games and we hope to learn from the first 14 games," he said. "Then comes the state tournament, which is where we want to end up."
PUERTO RICO-BOUND: The Eckerd men's and women's basketball teams took off Friday to play in the San Juan Classic.
For both squads, the tournament is a chance to get away from home, play some hoops and see some sights. It's their last three games before Christmas break.
The men played Puerto Rico-Cayey on Saturday. They meet American University on Monday and Puerto Rico-Bayamon on Tuesday.
The Eckerd women played Cayey on Saturday. They battle Rio Piedras on Monday and American University on Tuesday.
"It's definitely not a vacation," Tritons women's coach Brian Shultes said. "We're there to play hard.
"It's an opportunity for them to go somewhere they've never been," he said.
The trip was two years in the making for the Eckerd programs. The men's team traveled to Puerto Rico five season's ago. This is the first appearance there for the women.
Both clubs had various summer fund-raising efforts, including work in the Outback Steakhouse concession stand at Tropicana Field during Devil Rays games.
They finally scraped up enough money to make the trip.
"This is an awesome experience for the kids," men's coach Tom Ryan said.
"We're going to play the games very hard, but when it's over, we're going to have some fun. Wednesday is their day. They can go see whatever they want."
Both teams return to St. Petersburg on Thursday and go home for Christmas. They'll return on Dec. 26th to prepare for the rest of the season.
ALL-AMERICA: SPJC volleyball player Susan Adcock was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association's All-America second-team.
Adcock, a sophomore, set a school record with 624 kills as an outside hitter.
She has notselected a four-year college, although she's leaning toward Florida Southern.
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