Let the possible lineup combinations begin to churn.
With some key returners back in the fold and a group of freshman athletes eager to get a taste of the next level, Glendale Community College men's basketball Coach Brian Beauchemin said he's got options when devising a starting cast prepared to take the court. However, there's two mandates that have been given by Beauchemin to his players — they must excel in rebounding and play stingy defense.
“Defense and rebounding are the two most important parts of the game and give us a very good chance to be successful,” Beauchemin said. “We want to see them stay after it and put it all together.
“We were in a lot of games last season. We then got into situations where we couldn't get to a key rebound on either side of the court or couldn't make that one defensive stop. We want that to change.”
Beauchemin, who has recorded 570 victories since taking over the program in 1979, won't have to wait long to see if they are following his instructions. The Vaqueros will begin their season at 7 p.m. Thursday against visiting Santa Barbara in a nonconference contest.
Glendale went 12-15, 4-6 in the Western State Conference's Southern Division for fourth place last season. College of the Canyons captured the division championship, but has since been moved to the conference's North Division for the next two seasons and has been replaced by Antelope Valley.
The Vaqueros, who will look to make the postseason for the first time in three years, will field a 13-player squad that will include six sophomores.
“The guys know they have to prove themselves,” said Beauchemin, who ranks fifth all-time in career wins in the state and will be inducted into the California Community College Men's Basketball Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame in March. “I think we have a decent blend of talent and a group who might be able to shoot better than our team that went to the playoffs in
“We have some returners who can provide leadership. We'll see by sometime in December where we stand in terms of who can step it up and be more competitive?”
The guards will consist of sophomore Tade Keshishyan (Crescenta Valley High) and freshmen Jalen Etienne, Jason Moore and Caleb Benton.
The wings will be sophomore Emerson Castaneda (St. Francis), Sammy Darling and Emmett Duvall and freshmen Vahe Aristakessian (Glendale), Sontiago Grady, Wayne Robinson and Jamal Taylor.
The forwards will consist of sophomores Gor Plavchyan and Nick Kahn, both whom will be expected to provide grit and their share of offensive rebounds.
“Gor and Emmett will be our key returners,” Beauchemin said. “Emerson has been shooting the ball well in practice and Sontiago can provide us with a spark on the wing.”
Glendale will host the 27th annual Vaquero Classic, which will be held Dec. 18-21 and feature eight teams. Additionally, the Vaqueros will compete in two tournaments through Dec. 29.
The Vaqueros will begin play in conference at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at West L.A.. Glendale's first division home game will be at 5 p.m. Jan. 11 against Citrus.
“Even with Canyons gone, it will still be a tough division,” Beauchemin said. “Citrus, Santa Monica, Bakersfield, West L.A. and L.A. Valley will all be very good.
“It can be one of the most competitive years for the conference.”