Absegami High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Bult sees a lot of potential on his team this year, particularly with three key seniors and a key junior returning this season.
Seniors Darryl Loveland (guard), Jaleel Christmon (forward) and Vlad Shustov (forward), along with junior Abdul Anderson (guard) are back to lead the Braves this season. All four guys stand over six feet tall, with Shustov towering over the rest of the lineup at 6-foot-9. Chrismon is 6’6”, Anderson is 6’4”, and Loveland is 6’1”.
Shustov has already committed to attend college at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and the others have college aspirations as well.
“We have a lot of potential,” Bult, the third-year head coach, said. “It’s up to the guys, their toughness and their desire. We have some young guys and a few juniors. We’re going to need a couple of underclassmen to step up coming off the bench.”
Justice Martin and Justin Rice are the other two seniors on the team. Martin stands 6’0” and Rice is 5’11”.
Justin Borders (5’8”), Matt Fetske (6’3”) and Cam Johnson (6’0”) are the team’s other juniors and Vinnie Nelsons is the lone freshman currently listed on the varsity roster.
Absegami was 14-9 last season, and fell to eventual Tournament of Champions finalist Atlantic City in overtime in the first round of the playoffs. The Braves went 8-1 during the final month of the season.
“We are looking to compete for a conference title and get a home playoff game,” Bult said. “ … We have a tough schedule early, so we’re going to have to go right at it.”
The Braves open the season tonight at home against Lower Cape May, then plays Shawnee in Ocean City on Sunday and travel to Holy Spirit and Atlantic City next week before facing Cherokee in the Boardwalk Classic over the holiday break.
Meanwhile, the girls’ basketball team was 3-17 last year, and brings back two key seniors, according to a team preview in The Press of Atlantic City. Seniors include 5’6” guard Jenna Seddon and 5’7” forward Miranda Romesburg. Meghan Tracey returns for her third year as head coach with the program. They begin the season tonight at Lower Cape May, 6 p.m.