Roseville High boys basketball working toward more success

By: Zachary Manning | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 3, 2020

 Roseville High’s Martell Turner goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season. At press time, the Panthers were 6-6 overall.

Roseville High’s Martell Turner goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season. At press time, the Panthers were 6-6 overall.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

 Roseville High’s Aaron Hunter looks to make a play during a game earlier this season. At press time, Roseville was 5-1 in the MAC Red.

Roseville High’s Aaron Hunter looks to make a play during a game earlier this season. At press time, Roseville was 5-1 in the MAC Red.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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ROSEVILLE –– Roseville High boys basketball coach Hassan Nizam knows adversity is inevitable in every season.

He’s seen it happen to each of his first two squads at Roseville, with each finding a way to bounce back. This year, the adversity struck a bit earlier than normal.

The Panthers opened the season at 1-4 overall, and Nizam knows it would’ve been easy for his team to quit and chalk the season up as a down year.

His squad chose the opposite route, which involved bringing more energy and intensity, while finding a way to stop the bleeding.

Roseville has rebounded and sat at 6-6 overall and 5-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time.

Now, with their heads held a little higher, the Panthers will continue to remind themselves of the mantra that helped them find their way back: “Get better every day.”

“We’ve been really good at weathering the storm, and I give my staff 1,000% of the credit,” Nizam said. “We come in here, we watch film, we get in the weight room, we get better, we do what we got to do to improve.”

Under Nizam, defense has always been a staple. The Panthers have allowed opponents to score 52.6 points per game.

That number has only continued to drop in conference play, with Roseville ramping up the pressure. In six conference games thus far, the Panthers have held opponents under 45 points per contest.

With that improved defense, the Panthers’ goals are right in front of them. Win out in the league, and they secure at least a share of the MAC Red championship, while grabbing one of the top seeds in the MAC tournament.

“We’ve got a very talented group who plays really, really hard,” Nizam said. “Anybody who’s seen us play so far comments on how unselfish and how hard our kids play. Our defense, statistically, has been really good.”

Like any team, Roseville is looking to be playing its best basketball come March, which has been the case over the last couple of seasons.

Last season, after winning the MAC Red, the Panthers made a deep run in the postseason, eventually falling to the University of Detroit Jesuit in a Division 1 quarterfinal matchup.

The year prior — Nizam’s first season — Roseville captured a Class A district title, but fell to Macomb Dakota in regional play.

The Panthers have had no shortage of tough tests to prepare themselves for March. Along with playing in the highest division of the MAC, they’ve played some of the top teams in the state, like Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Clarkston High.

That battle-tested formula has paid dividends in recent seasons, and the Panthers are getting themselves ready for what they hope to be another deep postseason run.

“We know we got some big shoes to fill from the last couple years, but we’re ready for it,” senior Martell Turner said. “We’re just going to stay in the gym, get better every day and hopefully make a long push into the playoffs.”

Roseville will hit the court again at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.

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