BLOOMFIELD, NJ – As they get ready for their season opener this weekend, the Bloomfield College Bears men’s basketball team wants to focus on improving their defensive play.

“We need to work on communicating on defense and sticking together more as a team,” sophomore guard Nick Davidson said in an interview with TAPinto Bloomfield.

The Bears will start their 2017-2018 season at the Stonehill Tip-off Classic in North Easton, Massachusetts, taking on the Assumption College Greyhounds on Friday and Stonehill College Skyhawks on Saturday.

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Coming from a 22-10 (14-5 CACC) season in which they made it to the first round of the NCAA Division II Championship, the Bears are at an advantage having only graduated two seniors last year.

Senior guard Marcus Fleming explained how the team came a long way in playing together last season and expects that it will get even better this season.

“At first we weren’t really clicking, but then we started meshing and everyone started getting to know each other,” Fleming said. “Another year can only make things better.”

Davidson and Fleming will be major threats on offense for another year. Davidson is returning from a debut season in which he averaged 17.1 points, six rebounds and 1.6 assists a game. Fleming dished out an average of 14.1 points, six assists and 3.4 assists per contest.

“We’re very deep, very athletic and big in size -- basically everything you’d want for a basketball team,” Head Coach Gerald Holmes told TAPinto Bloomfield. “As long as we stay healthy and keep working hard, we’re likely to have a good season.”

Two other players who entered the double digits last season were junior forward Rakwan Kelly and sophomore guard Safee Abdus-Sabur, who both gave the Bears 13 points a game.

“Offensively I feel like we’re pretty sound,” Fleming said. “We have about eight to nine guys who can get a bucket at will, so I would say it’s just defense that needs some work.”  

Additionally, rebounding is one of the team’s top skills.

“We’re always one of the top rebounding teams in the league,” Holmes said.

The coach expects that the Stonehill Tip-off Classic this weekend will be a challenge for his team, as the two opponents are in the competitive Northeast-10 Conference.

“That’s a really good league,” he said. “Even their weaker teams are very competitive. I’m just telling my guys to make sure they play intelligently and play together.”

The Bears will head onto the court at 1:30 PM on Friday for the first game of the Stonehill Tip-off Classic.