Lassen College Men’s Basketball: “The 2017-18 Lassen College Cougars are primed and ready for the season to begin. The Cougars are looking to make big strides this season coming off a year where they beat two top 5 ranked teams and made a post season appearance. The Cougars will be led this year by five returners: Sophomores Unwana Ekiko, Max Denham, DeMario Newman, Denzil Guwa and redshirt freshman Chailen August.
Ekiko, from Aurora, CO, is coming off a solid season where he averaged 7.3 points per game coming off the bench. Ekiko is very talented and is an athletic guard who is primed to have a breakout season. He has the potential to not only be a top guard in the Golden Valley Conference, but in the entire state.
Denham, who has come to Lassen all the way from the United Kingdom, has worked himself into the starting point guard position. Denham has a very high basketball IQ and plays with a unique European style. He should be very fun to watch this year.
Newman, from Rancho Cordova, CA, is a 6’6″ matchup nightmare for opponents. He can guard every position on the floor and has come into this season with a much-improved offensive game.
Guwa, who is another import from the United Kingdom, started 18 out of 28 games for the Cougars last year, and he looks to hold down the paint for the Cougars again this season. He comes into the year as one of the best running big men in the state that has an improved jump shot.
August, from Los Angeles, CA, sat out last season but took advantage of that extra time. He is 6’4″ and is a true all-around-player. His length and skill set will definitely have an impact this season.
Sophomore Theo Howard II and freshman Xavier Lovelace headline the list of talented newcomers for the Cougars this season. Howard II, from Detroit, MI, is a transfer from NJCAA Chesapeake College where he averaged 6.4 points and dished out 2.3 assists per game. He brings a lot of skill and athleticism to the Cougars this season where he is expected to be a stand out guard in the state.
Lovelace, from Auburn, CA, is a 6’7″ all-around athlete. Lovelace played both basketball and volleyball at Placer High, where he put his leaping ability on display. Expect Lovelace to be all over the highlight reels this season.
Freshman Rikkert de Maertelaere, from Antwerp, Belgium, is a sharp shooting 6’3″ guard who transferred to Lassen from Northern New Mexico State. His shooting touch and athletic ability will help the Cougars throughout the year.
Freshman Kameron Brandon, from Aurora, CO, will bring a lot of energy and defensive intensity to the team this year. Brandon is a very strong and quick guard who has the ability to take games over.
Freshman Kareem Johnson, from Yuma, AZ, is a very long 6’6,” with a very long wingspan to match it. Johnson is a very good rim protector who has a lot of potential on both ends of the floor.
Freshman Kyle Nelson, a Herlong High School graduate, rounds out this new Cougar team. Nelson had a solid senior year helping his undermanned Viking squad make the 2016-17 NSCIF Davison 7 playoffs. His heart and grit is just what this Cougar team needs if it wants to bring home a championship.
The 2017-18 Cougar men’s basketball team has reloaded and is ready to show the state of California what they can do. Only time will tell what this season has in store, but this group definitely has the potential to make it a season to remember.”