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    In focus: Riverside boys basketball

    by John Malone on
    Sat, Dec 8, 2012 9:19 PM

    Updated Sat, Dec 8, 2012 9:30 PM
    In focus: Riverside boys basketball

    RIVERSIDE BOYS BASKETBALL
    The Rams are coming into the 2012-2013 season with a lot of momentum. After finishing the season 12-6 a year ago, Riverside is looking to make a run. The Rams are a senior-laden group and have a ton of experience.

    “We didn’t lose too much from last year,” Coach Eric Cruz said. “So, we’re looking to keep getting better and build off of that.”

    The biggest returning talent for Riverside? That’s Ian Parker. A long-limbed guard, Parker can score with the best of them, and like his teammates, he keeps getting better. Now, he’s becoming an elite defender.

    “Ian is asking to defend other teams’ best player this year,” Cruz said. “That’s the type of kid he is and the type of player he is turning into.”

    With Parker’s talent, it wouldn’t be surprising to think he demands the ball at all times, but according to Cruz that isn’t true.

    “He wants the ball like any good player does,” Cruz said. “But now he’s letting the game come to him, trusting his teammates, and really becoming a complete player.”

    The Rams are lethal beyond the arc and can get out and run the floor as well. It’s a deadly combination. Besides Parker’s long-range ability, Khalif Mason can fill it up from deep as well.

    Like many teams that like to get out and run, Riverside’s major improvement will need to be in ball security. If the Rams take care of the basketball, they’ll be much more successful.

    Starting 5
    Eddie Jackson, Jr., G: Jackson is probably going to be the number two option for Riverside behind Parker, can get to and finish around the rim. A great rebounding guard.
    David Morris, Sr., G: Morris is a nice role player for Riverside and has great speed. He really helps the Rams with their team defense.
    Khalif Mason, Jr., G: When the ball isn’t in Parker’s hands, Mason is the guy running the show. He can make every pass and has solid court vision.
    Ian Parker, Sr., G: Parker is a high-level talent with the ability to score 30 points nightly. He’s becoming a defensive stalwart as well.
    Keanu Douglas, Sr., F: Douglas isn’t going to score a ton, but he is the Rams’ athletic specimen. His leaping ability and rebounding are superb.

    Best Defender: Eddie Jackson. Riverside can really defend as a team this season, but Jackson is probably the best on-ball defender. While Parker may get some tough assignments, Jackson is great at denying his man the ball.

    Most Improved: Khalif Mason. It looks like Riverside has improved a lot, but none more than Mason who is becoming a top-notch distributor. He finds the open man on the perimeter and can drive and dish.

    Go-to Player: Ian Parker. Because he plays in Yonkers, Parker doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best players in Section 1. He can shoot deep contested 3-pointers consistently and is explosive. He finishes above the rim consistently, defends well, and is one of the Rams’ top rebounders.

    Games to Watch
    12/19 vs. Saunders
    1/26 at Poughkeepsie
    1/20 at Saunders

    Keys to the season: Protect the basketball. Riverside likes to run the fast break, but the negatives to that are turnovers. If the Rams can limit the turnovers or win the turnover battle, they’ll be successful more often than not and have a chance to win a couple playoff games.
     

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