Sharks end season on positive note
The Miami Dade College men’s basketball team defeated Indian River State College in their season finale, 65-62, to put a positive spin on a lackluster season.
The Sharks finished with a 12-14 overall record (4-8 in the Southern Conference).
“What an amazing effort,” said head coach, Matt Eisele, referring to the win against Indian River State College. “The kids played their hearts out.”
Sophomore forward Eloy Vargas, who averaged 18 points per game, led the team offensively.
“Eloy has the potential to play for a lot of money,” Eisele said. “We’ve sent a lot good players to top division one schools after their stop here.”
This year’s team faced several setbacks.
Sophomore forward Dominique Rutledge, sustained a broken hand; freshman guard Taariq Muhammad, was academically ineligible and freshman guard Joseph Orukotan, faced team discipline, Eisele said.
“We’ve had several crucial injuries in key positions on the team along with transcript issues,” said Eisele. “Whenever you experience injuries or those types of difficulties, especially throughout the season, it’s difficult to stay on top.”
Eisele believes his team is well positioned to bounce back next year.
He is counting on several promising freshman from this year’s squad.
Expected to contribute to next year’s squad include freshman guard Zach Lamb, who averaged 11.2 points per game this year; freshman center Julien Sargent, and freshmen guard Rafael Portuondo.
The players said they hope to have more support from the fans next year.
“Show your support for us,” Vargas said, “because whenever I play at home, it feels empty.”
The Sharks said they will work hard to restore the successful run the team has enjoyed in recent years.
During the 2008-09 season, the team was 26-2 and was crowned Southern Conference Champions.
They were ranked as high as third in the nation and second in the state, and Eisele earned conference coach of the year.
As a result of the winning, several players from the Sharks have signed with major division one teams in the past three year’s including: forward Steven Toyloy (The University of Cincinnati); forward Trevor Mbakwe (The University of Minnesota); forward Darnell Dodson (The University of Kentucky); point guard James Beatty (Rutgers University); forward William Coleman (The University of Memphis).
Eisele said he looks forward to continuing to build a strong program at MDC.
“We will continue to work hard,” Eisele said. “I will continue to bring out the best in these players academically as well as off the courts.”