First-year Red Deer College King Derian Valdes chases the loose basketball between two SAIT Polytechnic defenders Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Young Kings to play big part this season

The Red Deer College Kings basketball team is filled with fresh faces this season.

RDC is 1-1 early in the ACAC season and will head to Briercrest College and Medicine Hat College this weekend.

Just five players are returning to the Kings from last season, four of which are in their second year.

“With all the player turnover there isn’t as much continuity as you might want, but that’s the nature of our sport,” said coach Clayton Pottinger.

With the team being so young, the goals set at the start of the season weren’t about finishing at the top of the standings. The coaches and players are more interested in getting everyone comfortable on the court and with their teammates, said Pottinger.

Of the 15 Kings, only Darryl Broderick, Cody White, Kevin Szymanek, Spencer Klassen and Dillan Sutherland are returning from last year.

“It’s not like they’re coming with a wealth of experience too – most of them have one year of getting used to playing at the college level and now they’re sort of thrust into leadership roles, probably a little sooner than most were ready,” he said.

Pottinger said the team definitely has to improve in a few areas going forward.

“I really want us to work on our communication and trust,” he said. “In the games we’ve played, we’ve had guys who trust themselves, but maybe don’t have the trust in their teammates yet.”

This weekend the Kings will travel seven-and-a-half hours to play Briercrest College and then head to Medicine Hat to play the Rattlers.

Pottinger said this trip is the most gruelling one of the season.

“This is going to be a good opportunity for the guys to show a little mental toughness and preparation to deal with the adversity that comes with the travel,” he said.

The RDC Queens – winless in its first two games – will make the same trip this weekend to play Briercrest and Medicine Hat.

Like the Kings, the Queens have a very young team. Nine of the 18 Queens are first-year players.

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