Sophomore captain Cam Duncan said 2017-18 CMCC men’s basketball team might not have the talent of last year’s squad, but he still expects it to be better than last year’s squad.

“We had a lot of talent on paper, like we should have performed better,” Duncan, a sophomore forward from Bundaberg, Australia, said. “However, I feel, from practice, we’re going to go a lot further because everyone understands what we’re trying to do.”

What the Mustangs are trying to do is win. That might seem obvious, but Duncan said that last year there were many players looking beyond their time at CMCC.

“All I care about is winning here,” Duncan said. “Whatever happens next, happens next. But I’m fully focused on this year. We all have that sort of attitude, so I feel like that alone, despite the talent argument, that alone will help us win a lot more games that we’re not supposed to win.”

Only six players return from last year. As one of three team captains — along with Corey David (Ocala, Florida) and Belfast High School’s Zavier Roman — Duncan is making sure that all the newcomers are aware of what is expected in 2017-18.

“I’m always with Cam, and he’s always telling us all the good things that happened last year and all the bad things,” freshman guard Kenny Huynh said. “So I’m excited to focus on the good things and fix things that happened that happened bad last year.”

CMCC coach Dave Gonyea said that the Mustangs lost most of their starpower, and that those coming back were primarily role players on the team that went 23-8 (12-2 in the Yankee Small College Conference) and advanced to the YSCC elite eight.

Akeem Laurie (Brooklyn, New York) is the top returning scorer (8.1 ppg), and Gonyea said, one of the team’s best shooters along with Elijah Barbour (Warrenton, Virginia).

Duncan is the second-highest returning scorer at 3.4 ppg.

David is a ballyhooed freshman point guard.

“I really want to see Corey play,” Duncan said. “He has all these accolades and stuff, and I’ve seen him in practice, he’s a great player. I’m really excited to see him.”

Among the newcomers are Duncan’s fellow Australians Kenny Huynh and Freddy Webb and Lincoln Academy’s Cody Tozier, one of Gonyea’s prized recruits in this class, and Morse High School’s Dakota Freeman. There’s also Jack Sylvester of Greene and Leavitt Area High School, who Gonyea sees as valuable bench player this year.

“He’s a hard-working kid, nice kid, works tirelessly, does anything we ask him to do,” Gonyea said.

Gonyea said that this year’s team is deeper and expects better chemistry.

He also expects this team to be a typical CMCC team: press for 40 minutes and score a lot of points.

“That will be the secret is to create a game where we control the tempo and score a lot of points and attempt to create havoc on the defensive end,” Gonyea said.

And the expectations will be the same: win 20-plus games and reach the national tournament.

“I feel very good about our team this year,” Gonyea said.

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