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The Indiana University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team has a new weapon coming off the bench in a redshirt freshman-turned-sophomore.
Cornell Yarde II (redshirt freshman, computer science) is coming fresh off his redshirt year and is poised to make a big impact on the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference this upcoming season.
The 6-foot-4-inch combo guard has looked solid in practice and head coach Joe Lombardi expects Yarde to make a big impact for the team this year.
“It is still early, but look for [Yarde] to be one of the first guys off the bench. He gives us solid depth at the guard position, and we, as a coaching staff, have high expectations for [Yarde] this year,” Lombardi said. “He passes well, he attacks the bucket, shoots well and can really get after it on the defensive end.”
This is Yarde’s first year getting playing time, and though he may have his ups and downs, his teammates indicated that he is adjusting well.
“[I am] really excited about what Yarde can do for the team this year,” Marcel Souberbielle (senior, communications media) said.
As an athletic forward, Souberbielle said he likes to have guards that work well in the pick-and-roll and are good passers that can set him up for easy baskets. DeVante Chance (junior, communications media), one of the team’s more experienced players and leaders, has confidence in Yarde.
“[He] is one of the more athletic guards on the team and should do just fine against other PSAC guards,” Chance said.
Yarde has spent much of his offseason in the gym to work on his jump shot in order to complement his already existent athleticism. Those two factors combine to form a player that is ready to be the team’s six man.
“He put a lot of time in on his shooting. He turned his shooting from a weakness into a strength,” Lombardi said.
According to Yarde, redshirting last year helped him tremendously by allowing him to work on all areas of his game.
“I feel like redshirting last year got me adjusted to the speed of the game and how Coach Lombardi likes to run his offense,” Yarde said.
Lombardi has no rules on freshmen playing.
“Minutes are given out based on performance in game and in practice. We don’t go with the five best guys, we go with the five guys that play the best together,” he said.
Maybe Yarde is the sixth man for this year’s squad, but without any scrimmages or games, it is hard to gauge how well a young player will transition from high school to college basketball. Yarde has put in quite the effort this year.
Yarde had no personal goals for the season, preferring to focus on the team.
“I just want to win the championship and become closer with my teammates,” he said.
A little personality can go far in bringing teammates together. Chance described Yarde as “silly.”
“He is always cracking jokes and keeping the team mood light,” Chance said.
With a good mix of new young players and experienced upperclassmen, look for Yarde to be an impactful sixth man coming off the bench and making plays for the Crimson Hawks as the 2013-14 season unfolds