The Rough Riders were the only in-state team to hang a loss on defending 4A state champion Franklin last year, though the Quakers were playing with six players serving a one-game suspension for violating curfew on a road trip. They finished 7-7 in KingCo play, good enough for a tie for the Mountain Division's second spot.
6-6 junior Marcus Williams is one of the best in his class, not just locally but on a national level. Marcus hit at a 19.3ppg clip a year ago while pulling down 7.8 rebounds per contest. 6-2 senior Norris Frederick, a 7-0 high jumper with major springs, averaged 10.2ppg while 6-4 junior Casey Pursell averaged 6.4 points with 3.9 boards. 6-3 senior Julian Evans (4.0ppg/3.2rpg) is the fourth starter back.
Expected to step up are 6-5 senior Scott Quinn, 6-0 senior Carlos McArthur, 6-4 junior Taylor Argens and 6-3 junior Julian McArthur.
Coach Sarmiento said of this year's Rider's up side, "we're returning a lot of experience and should be strong on the offensive boards and in our transition offense."
"We have to get over our habit of playing down to the level of our opponent," the coach added.
"We had a good summer winning the UW team camp. Our biggest surprise was the development of our big men Scott Quinn, Taylor Argens, and Julian Evans."
Sarmiento spoke to the league in 2004; "KingCo 4A is always tough, but I see Garfield, Franklin, Inglemoor, and Redmond as the teams to beat. Depending on the health of Matt Tuiasosopo, Woodinville will be a team you can't take lightly."
"I'll be biased and say that the two teams that go to state from the KingCo will be the top contenders at state."
"We're excited for this season as a coaching staff because we feel that we have rebuilt the program to where it should be. Besides our returning starters, we have two more returning varsity lettermen with a good group of newcomers," Sarmiento told us.
"The toughest part as always is that our league only sends two teams to state when it seems that five are good enough to go and compete. It will be an interesting year considering the number of Division-1 prospects in the city, let alone the state."
Sarmiento spoke of the local talent pool. "This group of seniors and juniors may be some of the best this state has seen in a long time. There are plenty of very good basketball players with C.J. Giles at Rainier Beach, Martell Webster at Seattle Prep, Mitch Johnson at O'Dea, Terrance Williams at Rainier Beach, Lyndale Burleson at Franklin, and of course Marcus Williams from our school just to name a few in the city." He added a possible sleeper;"Jeff Burns from Renton is extremely quick with the ability to score from a lot of areas."
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