Chautauqua Hurricane optimistic for upcoming PBL season

The Premier Basketball League kicked off Saturday with a special New Year’s Eve game as the Chautauqua Hurricane traveled to Rochester to take on the Razorbacks at Blue Cross Arena.

It was the first game of the new season and first under the ownership of Sixto Rosario.

And though the contest did not go their way Saturday in a 128-75 defeat, Rosario and head coach Jerome Moss are optimistic about the season.

Rosario, along with Moss, hand picked the team this season and used the game against the reigning five-time PBL champs as a measuring stick.

“It’s a great test,” Moss said before the game. “They called and asked if we wanted to do it and we accepted the game on the schedule. Rochester’s arena is beautiful. It will be fun playing at that arena. The guys will have a good time.”

The Hurricane have been in training camp for more than a month, and with the roster not being finalized until Tuesday, players competed for a final roster spot Saturday night.

“We looked at a lot of players,” Moss said. “A lot of players have contacted us. We have filtered through that and that’s why we have taken our time and not rushed making any final decisions. We have been hands on when it comes to picking these guys. We are more comfortable with who we have. We know more about these guys and we had the opportunity to get to know these guys better. That is definitely a benefit as far as that is concerned.”

After a year in the league, Moss is excited for the roster he and Rosario have assembled, as they selected players who fit their system and the players they feel can succeed in the league.

“We understand the level of play in this league,” Moss said. “The level of play I understand. When we are looking at players, we know what we are looking for and know what level we need them to play at. And that level is pretty high. The biggest thing is knowing the level of play and our expectations. You have to produce. That’s what this league is all about. If you’re going to move on to another level, you have to be able to play at this level. We knew we had to go out and get guys with height. We have good jumpers. We have the pieces we feel can compete in this league.”

The lone returning starter from last year’s squad is Marcus Feagin.

After a few scrimmages, Moss noted he is encouraged by the team’s shooting and speed. He did note he needs the Hurricane to improve on defense and transition.

“We did some good things offensively in the scrimmage,” Moss said. “We can definitely score. We need to work harder on the defensive end and transition. In this league, you have to stress transition. You don’t have time to rest on your shot. You need to get back. I think we are further ahead than we were last year. This year’s team, people will like what they see. We will have an exciting team. People will enjoy watching the games.”