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Slocum's hiring has team excited, especially the returning players



Published: Wed, April 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Twelve returning YSU players were on hand to greet their new coach.

By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Probably the most interested spectators at Tuesday's press conference introducing Jerry Slocum as the new YSU head men's basketball coach were the 12 players who will form the nucleus of next season's team.

YSU's returning players sat in a group in a special section as they listened to the new head coach talk about how he hoped to return the Penguins to the rich tradition they once enjoyed.

Slocum, the head coach at Gannon University for the past nine seasons and with 30 years of head coaching experience, became the 12th men's basketball coach in the school's history.

Harris excited

Derrick Harris, who will be a senior guard, was excited.

"Being a senior now, Jon Mends and I have been keeping the team together and getting everybody into the gym for workouts every day," Harris said. "It's good now that we have somebody to take over and get things back together.

"We all pretty definitely felt that he was the best man for the job," Harris said. "We sat in with all three candidates and spent about and hour with each one. I feel real comfortable with him and I'm looking forward to start working with him," he said.

Leading returning star

The player Slocum will be looking for to guide the Penguins once again next season is junior guard-forward Quin Humphrey.

The 6-2 standout from Ellenwood, Ga., led the Penguins in scoring with 402 points, a 14.4 average and also was the team's rebounding leader with 150 and a 5.4 average per game.

"We felt comfortable with him while he was here and talking with us, " Humphrey said. "We really liked what he had to say about taking this program to the next level, because that's what we all want to do."

Humphrey said that while losing was hard to take last year, the season as a whole wasn't that difficult because the team stayed together.

"We never quit and we never gave up at any time, we just wanted to win and did everything we could to make it happen," he said.

Radakovich praised coach

Brian Radakovich, one of the two seniors this year, also was an interested spectator on Tuesday.

Radakovich, who is trying to make the roster on the YSU football team after not playing the game for more than four years, was impressed with the new coach.

"Coach Slocum recruited me at Gannon when I was a senior in high school," Radakovich said. "He's a good guy and his record speaks for himself. I hope he can come in here and turn things around and help these guys to get the wins they deserve to get.

"Last season was difficult because of all the losing and early in the year we were really getting killed, but this team came together and that closeness helped us get through the season to the point that we were pretty competitive at the end," Radakovich said.

Legendary coach

Another interested spectator Tuesday was the man who put YSU basketball on the map many years ago, Dom Rosselli.

Rosselli, who rarely misses a YSU game even these days, was the head coach for 38 yards and put together a record of 589-388, including eight 20-win seasons and 26 winning campaigns.

"Did they just hire another basketball coach?" Rosselli joked. "I figured with this many people around something was going on."

"I know this guy's going to be a good one," Rosselli said. "He came from Geneva College and everybody from Geneva is really good."

Rosselli graduated from Geneva College in 1939 where he starred in football, basketball and baseball.




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