Young Bevill State team shows strong potential

Bears off to 2-1 start

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 11/13/19

The 2019-20 season has provided an interesting start for the Bevill State Bears.

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Young Bevill State team shows strong potential

Bears off to 2-1 start


The 2019-20 season has provided an interesting start for the Bevill State Bears.

Following an impressive 120-78 victory over Blessed IJN Prep to begin the season, the Bears competed in the Southland Invitational last weekend, where Bevill State recorded a 70-62 win over Central Georgia Tech — the No. 1-ranked JUCO team in Georgia, as well as the No. 23 team in the nation. The Bears followed with a 79-75 loss to Middle Georgia Prep for a 2-1 beginning to the year.

Bevill State head coach Tommy Suitts said the whimsical start for his team is indicative of the potential that lies within the young squad, as well as its inexperience.

“Our weekend at the Southland Invitational is sort of typical with the squad we have in junior college basketball. We had one of the biggest wins against Central Georgia Tech since I’ve been here, then a day later we lost to a prep school. We simply didn’t do the same things we did in the night before,” said Suitts, who is in his third year at the helm of the program. “Until we can get some consistency, we’re going to struggle some. But there is a considerable amount of potential with the team, and if we can get certain people playing well within certain roles, we can have a successful season.”

Along with new faces, the Bears return key players from last year’s squad that earned a spot in the a Alabama Community College Conference play-in game.

Nelson Haskin, last season’s Daily Mountain Eagle Freshman of the Year who led the conference in blocks per game, has provided leadership on the court in his play and vocal guidance. He’s averaging a double-double of 14 points and 11.7 rebounds per game — a rebounding total that leads the ACCC. Alongside Haskin are returning sophomores Malik Betts, Javon Duncan, Korri Edwards and Jacob Woodard.

Newcomer Montez Brown, a 6-7 freshman from Bessemer has made an impact, along with another big inside player, 6-5 Anthony Brown of Midfield. On the perimeter, Latrell Tate of Osbourne High School in Marietta, Ga., currently leads the conference in scoring at 23 points per game and C.J. Beckham of Carver-Birmingham has impressed the staff, along with Javontay Rollings of Smyrna, Tenn.

With All-ACCC First Team selection Wanya King signed with Arkansas-Monticello and another standout from last year’s squad, Miguel Williams, out with injury, the Bears will focus on developing stable scoring to offset the losses.

“With Wanya signed and Miguel out recovering, that’s 39 points a game we’re going to have to replace. It’s going to be a key factor for us moving forward to get our shooting and defense up to speed to have a good season,” Suitts said. “Martez is playing better than all the new people on our team — he’s exceeded our early expectations. We signed him because we thought he was good, athletic and he’s pushing 6-8, but he’s produced more than we expected. Anthony is a really good post player and rebounder, we just need to find a way to work him more fluidly in our up-tempo system. Latrell has scored well for us, not shot well — but he’s got the potential for a lot of firepower. He’s quick, athletic and plays good defense. C.J. has been a good surprise for us, but he’s been hurt some. Javontay is a gifted athlete, but he’s had some trouble finding his niche. With Javon and Nelson, our point guard and center as the leaders, as they go, we’ll go. It’s just a matter of developing the pieces around them.”

The Bears will travel to Tuscaloosa today to play the Stillman College JV team, followed by a road contest against Blue Mountain College of Mississippi on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Bevill returns home against the Stillman JV team at Glen Clem Gymnasium.