Men’s basketball ‘wants a State Championship’

Being champions of the South Coast Conference SouthDivision is not enough for the men’s basketball team, as head coach Russ May notes the bar is set high for a unit that is after a State Championship.

“We worked on our fundamentals during the summer. Our footwork was very important. There’s a lot of conditioning in the beginning of a season. It’s all about us as individuals, and playing for pride.””

— Iyke Akajiobi

The men’s basketball team opens its season with a double-header with the women’s team Saturday, Nov. 9 against Rio Hondo College at 6 p.m.

Ending its season with a 69-54 playoff defeat against Antelope Valley College, the men’s basketball team has a new set of athletes, and three reasons why it should be successful in its goal for a championship, according to May.

“No. 1 is the fact that (the team) has a brand new building and a place to call home the entire season. That’s an emotional lift,” he said.

“Second of all, there are a lot of returning players from last season who have experience.

“The third factor is the amount of talented freshman that have come in.

“With those three things combined, (the team) has a chance to be pretty good.”

May said that the freshman have “absolutely” meshed well with the returning members of the team, and that the athletes are working on fundamentals to become technically sound.

“They’re talented guys. We recruited good-character kids and we have a pretty tight crew. They enjoy each other’s company and they like being around each other, so that’s a good sign.”

He added, “Right now we’re in that mode of, everybody playing together, knowing their roles and making the right plays.”

Playing in unison is indeed what will be needed in the season opener against Rio Hondo College.

Rio Hondo College in years’ past has struggled however, finishing with a 4-22 record last season. “Knowing roles” and “making right plays” should get the result that is desired for the Cerritos College team, a win.

Sophomore guard Victor Jones attributes the work on the little things to be the difference for this season’s team and outcome for this Saturday.

Sophomore forward Iyke Akajiobi said, “The tone we want to set is hard work. Every game we want to go out there and play hard.”