Price's high expectations for high scoring Sinclair (88.9ppg - #9 nationally) were based on returning two stars from the previous year: Miami signee Mark Anderson and British Alexander. Still, the injuries have not slowed down the Tartan scoring machine. Coach Price said, "We like to get up and down the court."
Coach Price expects Sinclair to finish anywhere from first to third in the OCCAC. Price felt that before the injuries to Alexander and Johnson, Sinclair was the clear cut favorite to repeat as league champions. Despite those injuries, Sinclair still has a strong collection of talent led by Anderson, one of the top returning players in the nation.
Anderson, a 6'7" small forward, last year as a freshman led the nation in scoring and the conference in rebounding. He was named conference player of the year and was second team All-American. This season, Anderson again leads the nation in scoring at over 24 points per game and is #5 in the nation in rebounding at 11.6 boards per game. He is also averaging 2 blocks per game. Price said, "He is pretty smooth. He keeps getting better and better." In a recent 100-98 victory over Clark State, Anderson had 31 points and 18 rebounds.
Price expects Anderson to do well in Oxford. "Mark will really blossom at Miami," said Price. Price added, "These guys at Miami, I really respect what they can do for players. I have seen what they did for (Miami senior guard and former JUCO) Kenny Hayes. What they can do for Mark will be scary. He will really be able to take this young man to the next level." Price feels the individual coaching instruction and training facilities at Miami will be the key to making Anderson into a star in the Mid American conference. Price also said, "Once he gets comfortable (at Miami), he will start taking over."
Price describes Anderson, who he says is his best player, as a "great kid, great young man" who can play basically every position on the court. "I've had him play the two guard before. Nobody takes it from him."
Anderson's uncle, Dwight Anderson, was Dayton's first McDonald's All-American and went to play for Kentucky and then the NBA.
Price said his second best player was going to be British Alexander. The 6'5" Alexander last year won the conference newcomer of the year award. Unfortunately, in a loss to #1 ranked and two time defending national champion Mott Community College, Alexander went down with a season ending injury. Alexander had been receiving recruiting interest from Miami(OH), Wright State, Loyola-Chicago, California (Pa.), Davis and Elkins, and Charleston(WV). Alexander will receive a redshirt year and return next season.
Also lost in the Mott game was Sinclair's best defensive player, sophomore David Johnson (Kettering (OH) Alter High School). Coach Price says Johnson (who stands 6'4") is also a great defender. Johnson is set to have surgery soon. Price said of losing Alexander and Johnson, "Not having Britt and David Johnson is making it real difficult to get done what we are trying to do."
Helping out Anderson with the scoring is 6'0" sophomore guard Jonathon Tate. Tate is originally from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis and is a transfer from NCAA Division I Jacksonville State. Price describes Tate as a great athlete who also ran track at Jacksonville St. (high jump 6'11"). "He is one of our quickest guys," said Coach Price. "Pretty good point guard." Tate is averaging 13.1ppg. Jacksonville State wants him back next year and he is also receiving interest from Ball State, IUPUI, and Temple.
Kevin Vest Frosh guard Kevin Vest (Dayton Carroll High School) like Mark Anderson , also has a prestigious basketball heritage. His father Mark Vest was an All-American at Wright State. His sister is a sophomore on the Western Michigan Lady Broncos. The 6'1" Vest missed the first three games of the season due to a shoulder surgery. However, Vest is second on the team in scoring at 13.8ppg. He is also 21st in the nation in assists at 4.8 per contest. He also averages 3.5 rebounds. Coach Price said, "We recruited him to protect Mark. He is a pure shooter; a heady, perimeter scorer who is learning from the sophomores." Vest shoots mostly treys at 38%. "He will get a lot of college looks," said Price.
Charles "Chuck" Winkfield is a 6'4" freshman from Huber Heights Wayne High School in suburban Dayton. Coach Price describes him as a true utility player who can play point guard or even power forward. Price added, "He is a slasher like (current Dayton Flyer) Chris Wright. Just wants to get to the rim." Winkfield takes quality shots as evidenced by the fact he shoots 50% from the field despite not being a particular good shooter. Price said, "He takes the shots he can make." His per game averages are 11.8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.3 steals (23rd in nation). Price said, "He and Kevin, their motors never stop. With British Alexander, they will be the cornerstones of next year's team." Like Vest, Price expects Winkfield to get a lot of college looks.
6'7" frosh Eric Lepajoe comes to Sinclair from the former soviet state of Estonia. Coach Price said, "You won't see a whole lot from him in the scoring column, but he has incredible leaping ability and blocks shots."
Another frosh is 6'3" G/F Nathan Miller from Middletown (OH) Fenwick. Miller is a fundamentally sound slasher who was recommended to Coach Price by former University of Dayton coaching legend Don Donoher. Miller is also a good outside shooter.
Kenny Lee is a large 6'7" freshman from Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Price calls him "Baby Shaq." Price said, "He works his butt off for three or four minutes."
Freshman Grant Shellabarger joined Sinclair as a walk-on this year. He is a 6 foot guard who is primarily a shooter. Coach Price described his dedication and work ethic by saying, "He does not have the talent of the other guards, but he is in at crunch time. He and Kevin are the first in and last to leave practice." Price expects Shellabarger to end up at a NCAA Division II or III school or an NAIA college.
Tartan Community Service
Coach Price expects his players to give back to the community. The Tartans participate in the Jerry Lewis telethon, visit patients at Children's Hospital, and collect food for local food banks.