Hellems Gets Off to Hot Start for Archers
As Toraino Hellems goes, so does St. Louis Community College men’s basketball team.
Head coach Randy Albrecht knew he would need plenty of production from Hellems (Oakville) if the Archers will continue Albrecht’s run of 27 consecutive winning seasons, and the early returns have been terrific.
The sophomore guard opened the season with 20 points in the Archers’ loss to John Wood College, and followed that with a 23-point effort in their overtime victory over Rend Lake. That pace would be a drastic improvement from a year ago, when he averaged nine points per game as a freshman at St. Louis Community College-Meramec. With a large sophomore group from last year gone, much of Hellems’ supporting cast is gone. He’s confident he can fill the scoring void.
“Coach is looking for me and (sophomore forward) Ryun Davis to start scoring more points than we did last year,” Hellems said. “We just need to keep working as players and individuals so others can follow our lead.”
As far as his adjustment to the collegiate game in his second year, the progress has been significant, though Hellems does not consider himself a finished product.
“I think I’m way better than I was last year, but I’m still growing as a player and there’s a lot more for me to do,” Hellems said.
For some of his teammates from last season, having practices and games at Forest Park while still taking classes at Meramec has required some adjustment. Not so for Hellems, who opted to take his classes at Forest Park at the start of the semester, allowing him to seamlessly move from class to the basketball court. Hellems likened his situation to high school, with no travel between buildings necessary.
Prior to the season opener, Albrecht asserted than an athlete’s best year for improvement is between his freshman and sophomore years in college. Though the sample size is small, Hellems is doing a good job proving his coach right.