Cardinals expect a turn around

Du’Quan Lawson (#3).
Photo by Verity Rollins

Competing in the City University of New York Basketball Conference, the York College team from Jamaica, New York, known as the Cardinals, lasted only one round in the season end league playoff tournament. Now the Cardinals look toward a turn around season. Head Coach Ron St. John feels very confident about the make-up of the team.

It is headed by two seniors and Michael Woods, a scoring threat every time that he touches the ball from the guard position. Woods has a bright future ahead of him. There are 14 players on the roster and the rest are underclassmen.

Woods is expected to do most of the scoring. He will try to have a well balanced attack, if possible. Omar St. John, no relation to head coach Ron St. John, is also trying to chip in with his offensive work. Woods is still noted as the ‘go to’ player.

“Quickness is our major strength,” he said. “And we’ll be bigger than we used to be.”

The coach is also counting on junior Terell Roper, who can play either the forward or guard positions. He is one of the tallest players on the team. Donald Rodriguez and Thomas Hart also stand 6-5.

“We’ll hustle and put the (needed) work in,” continued St. John. “We’ll see a different look this year-defense and rebounding (then we had last winter). They are up for the challenge. It’ll take an effort from every guy on the court.”

The returning starters from last year are also among Roper and Duquan Lawson. Roper should be improved with his shots and he can handle the press better than he did last winter. He is smarter, can handle his position, shoots well, and is a better rebounder. He has to continue to make an adjustment.

Because of the level of rebounding, the Cardinals must work hard. They will box out and play tough defense.

Then there is also junior guard Jaron Williams. He is a good rebounder and is a shot blocker as well. They all will have to box out if they want to succeed.

The key to what hopes to be a successful season is a different focus on defense.

The guys are getting the concept on how to rotate on defense something that they didn’t do in the past. They will be using a tough defense. It’ll be a change. We will also use a full and half court press and a match-up zone.”

When they have the ball on offense, the Cardinals will employ a Kentucky style of play which is kind of a pro set.

“We also use a Miami, which goes into a flex offense,” he continued, one day in his York College office. “These are the three major ones (styles) that we use. As the season goes along, I’ll add little pieces to that.”

Coach St. John likes the togetherness of the players. “Once they understand that once they get the job done they all have to play together,” he went on. “This team will not allow separation. That’s what they will bring to the table. They’ll fight for one another. We’re looking to change things around so that we can be back on the map, where we used to be. We’re looking to be competitive.”

Terell Roper (#15).
Photo by Verity Rollins

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