There doesn’t figure to be much experience up and down the Glendale Community College men’s basketball team roster. As far as Glendale college Coach Brian Beauchemin is concerned, it’s not the worst position for the Vaqueros to be in.
If anything, Beauchemin is eager to see how most of the 15-member squad — with just three returners — will respond to adapting to the more physical style presented at the collegiate level.
“We have a lot of new faces and that’s fine,” said Beauchemin, whose team will tip off its season at 3 p.m. Friday against visiting Compton. “The new guys have been quite receptive to learning our system and trying to get things down.
“We will see how they set up to the tempo and physical play at this level.”
Glendale finished 12-16, 4-8 in the Western State Conference’s Southern Division last season after advancing to the Southern California Regionals in 2011. A winning record isn’t out of the question this season for the Vaqueros, though the division figures to be one of the best in the state again.
The division will be reduced by one team after West L.A. opted to shut down its program. Citrus won the division last season.
“It’s one of those things in that if you can survive most of these tough games, then you will probably be in the playoffs,” said Beauchemin, who took over the program in 1979 and ranks sixth in the state in victories with 558. “Hopefully, we will be one of those teams in the mix.
“I hear Citrus is as good, if not better than, last year and I fully expect Bakersfield, L.A. Valley and College of the Canyons to be good again. Last year, we lost a lot of tight games because we were limited in rebounding and perimeter play. If you can defend and rebound, then the offense will take care of itself.”
While Beauchemin hasn’t completely come up with a starting lineup, he’s got plenty of options available.
The guards will consist of sophomores Robert Henry, Chris Kopooshian and Mark Hicks and freshmen Dion Nelson, Tade Keshishyan of Crescenta Valley High and Michael Balian. Henry and Kopooshian are the only returners.
The wings will be sophomore Mike Johnson, who will be joined by freshmen Brian Massey, Emerson Castaneda of St. Francis, Alex Bullock and Isiah Howard. Castaneda averaged 19.1 points last season for St. Francis en route to earning All-Area and All-CIF accolades.
The forwards will consist of a quartet of freshman in Gor Plavchyan, Evan Smith, Nick Kahn and Rudy Avila of Crescenta Valley. All are 6-foot-6 or taller and figure to record a large share of the rebounding for the Vaqueros.
Versatility and depth will be a pair of factors that will likely work in Glendale’s favor
“We are going to be able put more guys in than normal,” Beauchemin said. “We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball well in Castaneda and Hicks. We have a guy like Massey, who is our best defensive player on the ball. Massey, Bullock and Johnson will help us get a lot of rebounds.”
The Vaquero Tip-Off Classic will also feature Victor Valley. The Vaqueros will conclude the tournament at 5 p.m. Saturday against Victor Valley.
Glendale will additionally take part in three tournaments through Dec. 30. It will host the 26th annual Vaquero Classic from Dec. 12-15.
The Vaqueros will start conference action at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at Citrus, which won the division championship last season. Glendale's first division home game will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 against Bakersfield.
Because West L.A. will no longer field a team, the division will hold a six-team tournament for the first time Feb. 21-22 at Canyons.