By Andrew Johnson

MUSKEGON – The West Michigan Lake Hawks will kick off their 2016 season on Sunday at home against the Oakland County Cowboys – and they willLSJ Logo incert look a little different this season.

Only three players will be returning from the 2015 squad that lost in the American Basketball Association North Central Division Championship game to the Kalamazoo Pure – Ralph Monday, Tremayne Thompson and Terry Walker Jr.

“It’ll be a different unit but expectations won’t change,” said Lake Hawk head coach Ron Jenkins, whose team will host Oakland County on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Reeths-Puffer High School.

“It’s a rebuilding year for us, but at the same time I’m a competitor and we’ll compete. I expect us to play hard and represent the community by putting games in the win column.”

According to Jenkins, the West Michigan roster will be a bit smaller than usual.

“With the lineup we have now, I think we’ll do a lot of running,” the coach said. “We’ll be a run-and-gun team, but being able to execute will be the most important thing. That’s what we’ve been working on the last few weeks in preparation of the upcoming season.

“I’m still an aggressive end-line to end-line defensive coach, so we’ll continue to press and play man-to-man, but will be more dependent on help side defense.”

The roster won’t be the only change in 2016 for the Lake Hawks.

Their North Central Division has also undergone some changes. The Detroit Fast Forward have been added to the league, and the Kalamazoo Pure underwent a management change and are now the Kalamazoo Cobras.

“Our division is probably one of the toughest by all standards,” said Jenkins. “We were all neck-and-neck last year battling hard. We’re the team to beat and have to step it up and prepare.”

Even with the major roster turnover, Jenkins said the Lake Hawks have bonded quickly and will be ready to represent Muskegon.

“I’m proud of these guys because they’ve been coming together and bonding,” said Jenkins. “They hold each other accountable in doing the right thing, on and off the court.”

One of the new players who Jenkins has high expectations for is point guard Marquis Brewer.

“He’s a diamond in the rough,” Jenkins said. “He understands the floor and is a general. He’ll lead the team into a new era, and I think he’ll be one of the best guards I’ve had here as the Lake Hawk coach.”