Florida A&M men’s basketball team will kick its season off with an exhibition game against Albany State on Friday.
FAMU had a 107-76 win against Albany State in last year’s exhibition game.
FAMU will start this season fresh with a new coach and new expectations. Head coach Clemon Johnson, a former NBA player who has been coaching for 18 years, is looking to win a competitive game.
“I want to continue to build on what we have, but I want to restructure it in a matter in which the guys can be more competitive and win more basketball games,” Johnson said.
The number one difference with this year’s team will be the coach. For three days, Johnson watched the team play trying to figure out what the team can and cannot do.
“We are doing more things on the defensive end,” Johnson said. “Their outlook is different because I have placed them in a system that they feel more effective in offensively and defensively.”
Sophomore guard Avery Moore said Johnson is a great coach.
“He went to the NBA so I know I need to listen because he’s been where I’m trying to reach.” Moore said
Junior small forward Darryl Demps said Johnson played at the highest level (NBA) from this university, so he brings a sense of pride and family to the huddle.
“I am familiar with Albany state and I feel they are looking to speed the game up as well,” Demps said. “Our strength is our depth and our belief in what’s being coached to us.”
Johnson said they have some advantages in the defensive end and a more educated staff.
Maurice Sheals, who has coached basketball for about 30-35 years. Condric Sanders, has been recruiting about 17 years and Chadrick Johnson, has experience of knowing the Florida coaches in the area and is able to build relationships with the current players as well as press work.
“Coach Johnson is about winning,” Demps said. “Our assistant coaches are a reflection of his philosophy and we are really jelling as a team on and off the court.”
The Rattlers, who finished last season with a record of 12-20 overall and 7-9 in MEAC play, will have the return of Amin Stevens, a 6-6 junior guard who saw action in all 32 games with 434 points in the season. Also returning will be sophomore guard Avery Moore, who is a three-point threat for FAMU.
Yannick Crowder, senior forward from Stone Mountain, Ga., played in 30 of the games last season. He finished the season averaging 225 points, 117 defensive rebounds and 180 rebounds.
Among others players include Chris Watson, a 6-2 senior guard from Bainbridge, Ga.; Jeremy Dean, 6-6 junior forward from Houston and Brandon Hosley, a 5-10 senior guard from Jonesboro, Ga.