Big men helping Patriots post wins

December 18, 2015

By MATTHEW SCHWARTZ Bulletin Sports Writer

The Patrick Henry Community College Patriots have started the first half of their 2015-2016 season10-2 and 3-1 Region X play and a big part of that success could be contributed to the front court of the Patriots.

The Patriots have a handful of players who play the power forward and center positions, but Jacob Traore and Shawn Duhon are a couple of the featured front court players in head coach Kenny Wade’s offense.

Finland native Henri Ventoniemi has also played a big part down low for the Partiots, averaging 7.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

“The bigs have come on pretty strong here in the last part of the first half of the season, Jacob has had some double doubles here in the last few games, Shawn has been big for us until he got a concussion and right now I think he’s getting back into his groove, but now I think he’s coming back around and I think this break will do him some good to get him a little bit of rest,” Wade said.

Good play from the bigs means the Patriots are more likely to be successful according to Wade.

“It means a lot for the success of the team because you have to go inside to come outside,” he said.

Sophomore Jacob Traore, a native of Poitiers, France has  played a huge role for the Patriots this season. He has averaged 8 points a game, along with 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 11 game games this season.

Traore maintains that he always looks out for the betterment of the team before worrying about any of his own personal goals.

“First I try to play good for the team, then personally I just try to get as many rebounds and points as possible, so if I can get a double double each night, then I will try to,” he said.

According to Traore, if he doesn’t play well, then that could definitely hurt his team each night out.

“I’m one of the men on the team, so they pretty much count on me to play well, count on me to get rebounds and blocks so I think if I don’t play well then I know I have some other teammates like (Henri Ventoniemi) who can back me up, but I think if I don’t play well it can hurt the team,” he said.

Traore also considers himself as a defense-first post player and his 23 blocks this season rank him among the top shot blockers in NJCAA.

“I have a lot of problems with offense, whether it’s my footwork or finishing at the rim or not being aggressive enough, I like offense, but I think I’m more of a defensive guy, that’s why sometimes I get six or seven blocks a game,” he said while laughing.

Traore wants to play well enough to be considered a candidate for the all-American team, but said his goals are for his team to become national champions.

Sophomore and Fenton, Louisiana native Shawn Duhon has been another impactful force inside for the Patriots, averaging right under 10 points a game at 9.9, with 7.6 rebounds and right around one assist and one block in nine games this season.

Duhon said being considered one of the big men on the team is a rewarding feeling.

“It’s a good experience playing big, helping out the team, contributing anyway I can, inside, outside, offense, defense, rebounding, just doing the little things,” Duhon said.

His numbers are split across the board, but he said he feels his rebounding is where he contributes most to the team.

“I try to do a little bit of everything, but if I could say anything, my rebounding and versatility on offense and defense and I bring energy so that helps our team,” he said.

While Duhon has been of great value to Wade and his team this year, he said there are still things in his game that need to be worked on.

“Just being more aggressive on offense and defense, getting consistency on my jump shot and just a few little things,” he said.

Duhon said his goals are for the team to win a conference title and a national championship and as an individual be an all-defensive player, first-team all conference and get a scholarship to play college basketball at the next level.

The big men and the rest of the Patriots take a couple weeks off for the holiday break before returning back to floor January 13 at home against Vance Granville.

Filed under: Men's Basketball