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The Master's College men search for ideal

Mustangs step up the pace

Posted: November 19, 2008 9:34 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2008 4:52 a.m.

The Master's College senior guard Ryan Zamroz takes a shot in practice Wednesday at Bross Gym. As a junior, Zamroz earned NAIA All-American second team honors.

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Evolution is probably one of the least likely things associated with The Master's College.

But it can be found on campus.

The evolution has taken place at the Christian school's Bross Gym.

Since Chuck Martin took over as head coach before the 2006-07 season, there has been a constant molding of The Master's College men's basketball program.

It's not ideal - yet - but Martin said the team is taking strides.

This is best exemplified by his expectations and hopes for the 2008-09 season.

"I think we can win it," Martin said of the ultracompetitive Golden State Athletic Conference. "That might sound crazy (to some)."

It sounds crazy because the Mustangs haven't finished above fifth in the conference this decade.

But TMC may be on an upswing.

The Mustangs improved five wins from Martin's debut season in 2006-07 to finish 16-15 in 2007-08.

Since he's taken over, Martin has been tinkering with the program - on and off the court.

It has evolved into a different squad than the public has seen in years past.

Ideally, it will be an athletic team that scores a lot of points, rebounds in bunches and holds teams with its man-to-man defense.

In the past couple of years, there have been three major problems - lack of talent, lack of depth, and lack of size and strength in the low-post.

Martin said certain changes have happened recently that could bring the Mustangs to completion.

It has started with recruiting.

The Mustangs lost two key players from last season - multi-faceted All-GSAC forward Eric Durso and outside-shooting threat Josh Herman.

Durso, completed his career at TMC with 13.7 points and 9.1 rebounds last season.

The hard-working senior leaves the biggest void.

"It's a pretty big blow," says senior guard Ryan Zamroz, who led the team in scoring last year at 18.7 points per game. "He did a lot of the little things for us. But I think we have the guys to fill in."

Herman left school to pursue ministry. He made 49 3-pointers last season and contributed 6.8 points per contest.

TMC brought in six players - two NCAA Division I transfers in former UC Davis player Drew Menez and former University of San Francisco player Dean Hadley, who starts at small forward.

On top of the new players, The Master's College added former Saugus girls basketball coach Eric Olsson and former Saugus boys basketball coach Jeff Hallman to the coaching staff.

Martin said both coaches will have an impact on recruiting high school players because of their connections.

Because the school has such high academic and religious standards, Martin said he has a different challenge with recruiting compared to the other powers of the GSAC.

Nonetheless, he's been creative.

Four of his five starters are kids he recruited.

The holdover is Zamroz.

He was relied on so heavily last season, Martin says he wore him out late.

But a deeper team will cut Zamroz's minutes down by five this season.

"We've got more talent," Zamroz says. "But to be a better team, we have to play defense. We have to rebound and get out on the floor."

What he means is that better defense and rebounding will lead to more scoring opportunities in the transition game.

Though Zamroz's minutes will fall, his shots will stay the same because the pace has picked up.

Yet Martin has bigger expectations for the defense.

TMC is 3-1 thus far, even beating NCAA Division I Pepperdine 82-79 in an exhibition Nov. 7.

The team is scoring 94 points per game and allowing 78.

Martin, in typical coach fashion, doesn't compliment the fact that scoring is up 15 points per game from last year. He scoffs at the 78 points his team is allowing.

The Master's does face an adjustment period in the low post, though. Matt Sowa, a 6-foot 9-inch senior newcomer mans the middle and senior Jeremy Haggerty has made the switch from small to power forward.

It is an evolution after all.


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