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The 2012-13 Raider Men's Basketball squad returns two players from last year's team that finished 5th in the West (8-8, 16-11), missing the playoffs by one game.
The Raiders are led by returning sophomores John Palmer and Derek Porter, along with sophomore transfer Tyrell Lewis (North Idaho College). Palmer (6'0 guard), a 2nd Team West Region All-Star last season, is a sharp-shooter from 3-point range who brings dynamic leadership to the court for the Raiders. Porter, at 6'6", is the Raiders only true post player and will be key in filling up the paint on both ends of the floor this season. Lewis averaged 18 minutes a game at national junior college powerhouse North Idaho last season, and is expected to bring versatile scoring from the wing and a few highlight dunks to light up the crowd.
The Raiders will rely once again on a defense-first philosophy that has helped propel the team to the NWAACC Championship Tournament four times in the past nine seasons. Head Coach Bill Mendelson has assembled a talented freshman class that should return the Raiders to the NWAACC's in March, in the Tri-Cities.
This guard-heavy squad is led by Blayne Clanton (6'0 - Steilacoom HS), Gary Jacobs (6'2 - Las Vegas, NV), and Devin Matthews (6'1 - Las Vegas, NV). They will be well supported by Chris Parker (6'0 - Eagle River, AK), Cameron Clanton (6'0 - Steilacoom HS), and David Jeffries (6'0 - Las Vegas, NV). Helping Porter on the boards will be Brayden Kuiper (6'6 - Anchorage, AK), Kyle Emerson (6'5 - Elma HS), and Kaden Krumpos (6'2 - Graham Kapowsin HS).
This group has the potential to be a dominant force in the West this season, if all of the pieces fit as planned. Don't be surprised to see the Raiders making reservations for the Tri-Cities, for a run at an NWAACC title. It should be an exciting year for Raiders Basketball!