Click HERE for the orginal article - written by the Journal Tribune Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller
WATERVILLE, ME — The Thomas College basketball team has undergone some big roster changes in recent months. The Terriers have lost five seniors and have recruited a new freshman class, a class that includes former Kennebunk standout Zach Mackinnon.
Although Mackinnon joins a new team, he does know some of its players, including his brother Carlos Gonzalez, a junior center at Thomas.
Both players have been key members of the club so far this season, as Gonzalez is second in points per game (11.5) and first in rebounds (8.5). Mackinnon has averaged 6.1 points per game and has shot over 30 percent of his three-pointers.
Mackinnon has adjusted well to the college game, and has learned lessons along the way.
"It's been awesome so far — we have a really good team with a lot of unselfish players and a lot of upperclassmen. It really has been a great learning experience," said Mackinnon.
Gonzalez has been impressed with his brother's impact so far, and has also been happy with the Terriers' team-first approach.
"I think we look great so far, especially with teamwork and unselfishness," said Gonzalez. "We lost five seniors last year and our seniors were our best shooters so that left a big hole in our shooting department. (Mackinnon) has filled that role for us early on."
This is not the first time the two players have competed on the same court, as Mackinnon and Gonzalez competed in AAU and at Kennebunk. Mackinnon considers Gonzalez a role model on the court.
"It's been an awesome journey with him so far, getting to play with him in AAU and now getting to play with him in college," said Mackinnon. "He comes over to me and tells me what I'm doing wrong, he doesn't give me too much praise when I do something right ... he keeps me level."
The two players' familiarity with one another has also been an advantage on the court, according to Gonzalez.
"It's been a lot of fun, we have a lot of chemistry since we have been playing together for the last four years so we know each other, having him on the court has been a lot of fun."
Although Mackinnon has enjoyed the college experience, he does miss certain aspects of playing for Kennebunk High School, where he averaged 18 points per game and was named the 2015 Journal Tribune boys basketball MVP.
"I miss how well everyone knew each other in Kennebunk, I did a lot of community service helping the youngsters and they used to come out and watch the games. I miss the young guys coming out," said Mackinnon.
The Terriers will soon be entering the heart of the regular season, and Mackinnon is confident that Thomas is on its way to being a conference powerhouse.
"I think the sky is the limit with this team. In the three games we lost we really only got beat once, the other two we beat ourselves," said Mackinnon. "I think we're as good as we let (ourselves) be ... if we're on the same page I don't think anyone can beat us."
Gonzalez echoed those sentiments, and also looks forward to the added responsibility of being one of the veteran leaders in the locker room.
"We have a lot of heart and energy guys which you need for a team to go along with the talent we have. We can go really far," said Gonzalez. "I feel like there has been a lot put on me this year and I'm ready to take care of business. I've seen how the seniors do it and they taught me how to handle the pressure and I'm ready for the challenge."