By Nicklas Grifhorst
The Rochester College Men’s basketball team has gotten off to a hot start for the 2015-16 season. A strong defense and smart offense is to be thanked after amassing a 19-3 record so far.
The Warriors defense has been one of the toughest in the country all year long. According to dakstats.com, the official stats website for the NAIA, the Warriors lead the nation in scoring defense per game. They also lead their opponents in field goal percentage while holding teams to only 37 percent on the season.
When asked about his team’s biggest strength, freshman guard Justin Nafso said, “We play together with such high energy that it makes it extremely difficult for other teams to operate and score.”
Nafso Contributing on Offense and Defense
Nafso has been a big part of that stifling defense; he is second in the country in steals on the season. The freshman point guard has also been a leader on the offensive end for Rochester, leading the team in both points and assists per game.
“He has been a real spark plug and his motor and energy has been contagious,” said Head Coach Klint Pleasant about Nafso, “He scores in multiple ways, but also is a good defender and carries himself humbly.”
Depth of the Team
Nafso is just one of many key contributors on a RC team that looks to make a promising tournament run. Senior guard, Nick Tatu, is 13th in the country in total 3-pointers made this year. He is also 28th in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 45 percent from deep.
The Warriors have also seen big contributions from newcomers Jaylen Larry, who leads the team in rebounding. Angelo Griffis has also been one of the go-to scorers for RC and has shown the ability to take over the game offensively.
Storm the Hustling Sixth Man
Another key player for Rochester this season is senior forward Alex Storm. Storm is a player who may not be leading the team in stats, but has played a huge role as the sixth man for the Warriors. His key hustling, and diving for loose balls has made him a leader both on and off of the court.
“(Storm) is our player off the bench that is very dependable to play hard and do all the little things to help us win,” Griffis said.
Looking Towards the Postseason
The Warriors will look to continue their success over their last six games of the regular season. Two of the games will take place at home on Feb. 1 and Feb. 8.
As the Warriors prepare for the postseason they know what it will take to succeed.
“Going forward we just have to continue to improve individually and as a team, day in and day out,” Storm said, “Being 100% focused at every practice, film session and game, will be huge for us down the stretch.”
RC will start the conference tournament on Feb. 24, with the USCAA National Tournament starting the 29th and the NAIA National Tournament on March 8. This team looks like a serious contender for all three tournaments and is seeking to add another championship to the program.