Key Players

PG/SG Ryne Andreason - One of the top overall guards in the MCC this season. Was Hermiston's only participant in the SWX Classic All Star Game this past Spring. Has the potential to play at the next level.

SG/SF Cesar Ortiz - Trigger happy guard that specializes in the catch and shoot. Likely will lead the team in shot attempts. Plenty of experience in his fourth year on the team.

PG Jordan Ramirez - Tremendous three year starting floor general. Can create his own shots slashing to the basket. Team has a lot of trust in him to run the offense well.

Overview 

Hermiston Basketball will be making their Mid-Columbia Conference debut this season. Although they aren't unfamiliar with the scene.

They've been regular competitors against the MCC in non conference action for over twenty years now.

There's many benefits to making the switch from Oregon's Columbia River Conference to the MCC.

It's a huge step up in competitive balance, as just about every single MCC team features a collegiate prospect.

They're going from a four team conference to now a nine team conference, which will allow them to have home and home's every year.

They also only have to make a 35 mile trip to the Tri-Cities. This is way better than the 130 mile commute's to The Dalles and Hood River Valley they used to make.

Head coach Casey Arstein is going into this third season in charge, and he's looking forward to introducing his program to the Washington mainstream.

He returns all five starters, and describes them as a very disciplined group.

They're going to have tremendous guard play between Ryne Andreason, Cesar Ortiz, and Jordan Ramirez.

While all will be featured, they also have their own unique skillsets.

Ramirez embraces his responsibility as a ball distributor, while Ortiz is never afraid to take some circus shots. The 6-3 Andreason will be expected to do a little bit of everything.

6-4 Blake Davis is the closest to a center type this roster has. He'll score in the low post, but is athletic enough to run around the perimeter as well.

Filling out the starting lineup is 6-2 guard Cole Smith. He has shown in the past his capability of playing clutch down the stretch.

A couple key players to look for coming off the bench is Andrew James and Adrian Mendes.

James is a hard nosed defensive presence. He's started games in the past, and is as dependable as they come.

Mendes is a player that knows how to score inside, whether it's cutting to the basket or running the baseline.

Rounding out the bench is Sergio Madrigal. He got some minutes a sophomore, and should see a bump in his junior year.

The perception that the MCC is a big man dominated conference may be a little distorted because of former Richland center Riley Sorn.

But the 7-5 center is gone now, and that should help Hermiston become a credible threat.

There's not a whole lot of size at this group, but there a physically strong bunch. They're going to play like they have something to prove.

Projection: They've had success early on, knocking off Lewiston, Idaho and La Grande, Oregon. While all five starters do return, some of that experience is negated because of playing in a new conference. It's a level of competition they've simply never faced. As long as the full rotation stays healthy, there's enough depth here to compete for a MCC crown.

Key Games

Chiawana 12/11

Walla Walla 1/8

@ Richland 1/26

For more Eastside team previews, follow me on Twitter! @micah_chen