Men’s Basketball Looks to Build on Tournament Victory

BC basketball player Jaden Vollmen dribbles the ball
Jaden Vollmen

The Donald Brady era at Bellevue College got off to a good start, but the first-year coach realizes there is still a lot of work ahead.

The Bulldogs opened the season by winning the Pierce Thanksgiving Tournament, including a 102-101 semifinal victory over Linn-Benton in which BC overcame a 15-point halftime deficit.

“For an early season tournament, I was pleased to see a couple things that we really push – ball movement and shot selection on the offensive end – which I thought we were really good on,” Brady said. “We did not take a lot of bad shots, which for early in the season was really impressive.”

“And then defensively, I wasn’t too pleased with the first game and half, but then the last game and a half, I thought our communication got a lot better,” he said. “It was nice seeing things that we’ve kind of been trying to hammer home over the course of the last three weeks in preparation, all of a sudden they kind of started to click. We were happy, but obviously there’s so much we can improve on after just the first weekend.”

Although Brady is in his first season as head coach at BC, he is not unfamiliar with the Bulldogs program. Brady, who spent the previous three seasons at NWAC rival Shoreline, was an assistant coach at Bellevue from 2008-14 under Jeremy Eggers, who stepped down following the 2016-17 season to become BC athletic director.

The Bulldogs return three starters from last season’s team that finished third in the NWAC North Region at 8-6 and 18-12 overall. Guard Trey Nelson averaged 8.7 points, guard Jaden Vollmen 7 points and forward Max Tilden 7.7 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds.

“We inherited a solid group of sophomores that had some success last year,” Brady said. “Really, just a lot of guys that are pretty smart basketball players. And, our freshmen are nice addition of talent.”

“We don’t have a lot of size,” Brady said. “But, interchangeable pieces that can do multiple things is kind of what we’re looking for.”

Sophomore guard-forward Yonathan Michael, BC’s leading scorer in 2015-16 at 14.5 points per game, returns after not playing last season.

BC basketball player Trey Nelson controls the ball
Trey Nelson

In the Pierce Tournament, Vollmen had 17 points and Michael 13 in opening 73-67 victory over Wenatchee Valley. In the comeback victory over Linn-Benton, Andrew Shaw scored 18 points off the bench on six 3- pointers, Vollmen had 18 and Ting-Jhao Jian, a freshman guard from Taiwan, added 16.

In the 77-74 victory over Clackamas in the final, Michael poured in 33 points with nine 3-pointers, Jian added 13 points and Vollmen 12.

“We have a nice balance to our lineup this year,” Brady said. “We have three bigger guys who we trust that we can play. We have almost interchangeable stretch-4 type players who are similar there. And then we’ve got three or four really good ball handlers and then some nice shooters at the guard position. So there’s a lot of balance. “

Brady, who played four years at University of Redlands (Calif.) also has previous ties with several assistants. Marcus Fermon was on the BC staff and Marcus Tibbs played for the Bulldogs when Brady was an assistant. Another assistant is Brady’s father, Don Brady, who was Brady’s high school coach in Palm Desert, Calif., and then joined his son as an assistant at Shoreline.

Brady said the NWAC North Region appears to be extremely balanced.

“Our region top-to-bottom is really strong,” he said. “All eight teams are capable of beating each other with Edmonds maybe having the most talent going into it. But, everybody’s pretty good.”

Last Updated December 1, 2017