MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- The Columbia boys basketball team will open the 2019-2020 season Thursday at 7 p.m. with a home game against Montclair.
Columbia followers should get used to the guys they see on the court on Thursday, because they're going to be around for awhile. The Cougars do not have a senior on the roster.
Junior guard Nigel Garcia is the lone returning starter for head coach Eugene "Bamm" Robinson's team. Garcia put together a very promising sophomore season, averaging more than 8.0 points per game for a team that finished 12-10 and showing the ability to get past his defender and get to the basket. According to Robinson, Garcia is ranked in the top 70 of the junior class in New Jersey.
The rest of Columbia's lineup will have a new look, but, although unproven, Robinson believes it is a promising group, one that includes freshman point guard Jalen Robinson, junior forward Josiah Lawful, junior guard Chris Darcelin and sophomore guard Andrew Rowley.
"Jalen Robinson has two college offers already," Robinson said, "at Division 2 Bloomfield College and Division 2 Miles College in Alabama. He's also ranked by NJ Hoops in the top 20 of the freshman class."
"We are a young team with no seniors who are trying to get better everyday," Robinson said. "Our team's strength will be our guard play, and the weaknesses is our youth and inexperience."
Following Thursday's opener, the Cougars will play at noon Saturday at Union, and then they'll have three games in the Neptune Holiday Jubilee beginning on Friday, Dec. 27.