Getting back to work on the court

Laramie County Community College player Stephane Manzi in action against Trinidad State College in the Gymnasium on campus. Michael Smith/LCCC

The Laramie County Community College men’s basketball team’s season ended March 2. That’s when the start of the 2019-20 season began.

LCCC traveled to Riverton to face Central Wyoming College in the first round of the Region IX tournament. The game didn’t go as hoped for LCCC and its fans, as LCCC lost the game 77-56. The Golden Eagles shot 35 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers. LCCC was led by Mateo Zovko, who had a tea- high 14 points. Tyrese Potoma added 11 points while Cortney Dean chipped in with 12.

Despite the game being the last one of the season for the Golden Eagles, head coach Jason Ficca was not sorrowful but he was ready to get back to work.

“Usually we take two or three weeks off, to decompress and to see where we’re at, not this year… We’re pretty comfortable where we were at as a team and know what we need,” Ficca, who is in his 12th season at the helm, said.

The Golden Eagles had only two returners from last year’s campaign. Hayden Collier, who is 6-foot-10, and Stephane Manzi, who is 6-foot-8. Both players were dual threats as they were both able to shoot outside from 3-point range. Collier and Manzi have used their two years of eligibility up at the NJCAA level, and they now look to advance to the next level and sign with a four-year school.

According to Ficca, the advantage of losing only two players is there isn’t a reset for next year’s roster.

“I know exactly what I need for next year… Last year I only had two returners and had to build a roster,” Ficca said.

According to Ficca, he is going to be traveling around the country recruiting to fill those holes. Ficca is looking for players to replace the height of Collier and Manzi. In Collier’s two years at LCCC he had 177 rebounds and played 280 minutes while Manzi recorded 257 rebounds and 587 minutes.

“We have to be purposeful with our recruiting, we have to have laser focus and get the exact right guy,” Ficca said.

Along with size, Ficca said he looks to find someone that can shoot the ball well.

“I’d like to get a couple guys that can really, really, shoot it,” Ficca said.

Along with filling the holes on the team, Ficca said he hopes to get his team bigger, faster and stronger. He already has the team back in the gym for off-season practice.

According to Ficca, he had eight of his nine players in the gym just three days after the loss to CWC, preparing for the next season.

“Why wait… let’s get back to work…We had eight players in the gym out of nine, with one guy hurt. We nearly have a full team to work with. I’m super excited about that,” Ficca said.


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