Head coach Scott Schumacher knows his Buccaneers have the talent to make the 2012-13 as exciting as any in Blinn College history.
He also knows his young roster will need to get better as the season progresses.
"I think we're very, very talented, but I've also been doing this long enough to know that we're very, very young," said Schumacher, who enters his 23rd season as a junior college head coach and first with the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers return just two players from last season's 27-7 team that reached the Region XIV Conference tournament finals for the first time in school history. Even so, Blinn was picked to finish third in the Region XIV preseason coaches' poll.
Kin Bolton, a 6-5, 210-pound sophomore forward, has been battling a stress fracture that has kept him out much of the preseason, but Schumacher said the Waltrip High School product plays extremely hard and is very coachable.
De'Quentin Greer, a 6-3, 205-pound wing from La Marque High School, is the Bucs' only other returner.
T.J. Berry, a 6-3, 180-pound transfer from Houston Baptist University, is a solid all-around guard, and as a redshirt sophomore, provides the Buccaneer roster with leadership and maturity.
Najee Farr, a 6-0, 170-pound sophomore guard, came to Blinn from Kankakee (Ill.) Community College, where he was the starting point guard last year.
"Najee has been very solid at the point," Schumacher said. "He understands how to play and what's expected of him. He's been a good leader for us."
Marquise Hines, a 6-7, 235-pound sophomore from Fayetteville, N.C., provides the Buccaneers with plenty of muscle in the paint.
"He's a big, burly player who can step out and knock down 15 footers and shoot the three," Schumacher said. "He's a quality kid who can score the basketball. That's his best attribute, is scoring from the block."
Martaveous Smith, a 6-9, 205-pound sophomore from Waynesboro, Ga., gives the Bucs a long, athletic post who shines as a shot blocker and can run the floor.
"He really does a good job of protecting the rim and the paint," Schumacher said. "He really brings a different dimension to our ballclub – a really good athlete who can board it, block shots and jump hook it. He runs the floor like a deer."
Freshman guard Macari Brooks, a 6-3, 195-pounder from Chicago Heights, Ill., originally signed with DePaul University and also had offers from Marquette and Providence.
"He's very difficult to stop off the dribble," Schumacher said.
Rashaun Stimage, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from Chicago, brings athleticism and perimeter shooting to the roster, while Darell Combs, a 6-1, 170-pound guard from South Holland, Ill. can also shoot the three. Combs signed with Loyola of Chicago out of high school.
Donald Moore, a 6-1, 150-pound freshman from Chicago Heights, Ill., was named the Times of Northwest Indiana player of the year earlier this year.
"He is greased lightning," Schumacher said. "He's very, very fast and has very good lateral quickness. He should be a good defensive player and he can get to the rack or shoot the open jump shot."
"I just think he's going to get better and better every second he plays," Schumacher said.
Terrell Guy, a 6-4, 190-pound freshman, is a big, physical guard who was a forward in high school. He is making the transition from a high school post to a collegiate guard.
"He can just do everything – hit 15-footers, rebound, make 3-pointers, pass. He's just a very good all-around player who can do everything," Schumacher said.
The Buccaneers open their season Friday at the McLennan Community College Classic in Waco, where they will face Hill College at 4 p.m., then play McLennan at 8 p.m. Saturday. Blinn's home opener will be Nov. 8, when they host Lone Star College-Cy Fair at 7:30 p.m. at the Blinn P.E. Building.