Knight voted league’s Player of the Year

Knight sophomore guard  Taylor Nelson was selected  the top conference player of the year and made the All-State Honors team. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Celia Jimenez

Knight sophomore guard Taylor Nelson was selected the top conference player of the year and made the All-State Honors team. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Luisa Sausedo

The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference South gave Knights’ sophomore guard Taylor Nelson and his coach, Mitch Charlens, top honors as the men’s basketball season came to an end.

Nelson was named the league’s Player of the Year. He assisted his teammates to win the PCAC South Champions title by scoring a total of 447 points, gathering 101 rebounds, scoring an average of 25.3 points per 40 minutes, and sinking 33.6 percent of his three-point shots. He also started 25 out of 30 games played this season.

Meanwhile, Charlens was honored as Coach of the Year for the fifth time in the 12 years he’s been at City. The Knights finished with an overall season record of 22-8, and were undefeated 8-0 in conference.

The team’s season came to an end Feb. 26 when they were defeated in the second round of regional playoffs by the Antelope Valley College Marauders 83-87 in Lancaster.

Knights’ freshman Leonard Allen was the leading scorer in that game, with 21 points, followed by Nelson, with 19.

“It’s definitely humbling,” Nelson said of the Player of the Year honor. “And it’s a validation of all my hard work. I took two seasons off and didn’t think I was going to play basketball again.”

When Nelson was asked about what his motivation was this season, he brought up his daughter, Mila Nelson. He explained that Mila is 100 percent the reason he works hard on and off the basketball court.

Charlens was unavailable to comment about Nelson. However, assistant coach Joe D’Ambro commented on the honor.

“Complete 180. He’s a different person from when he played for us in 2012,” D’Ambro said in an interview. “He seems more focused and driven and I think he really made the most out of his opportunity this year. I think at this point this year he wanted it, not only did it show in the classroom but also every day at practice and at games as well.”

D’Ambro explained how the voting is conducted throughout the conference. Each coach submits players to be nominated for the Player of the Year title, then the other coaches in the conference vote.

It was a unanimous decision that Nelson be named. Nelson is also guaranteed a spot on the All State Honors team.

Nelson is continuing his studies as a communications major and is undecided about where he will be playing in the future.

“Being a leader, trying to understand what it really takes to win. You can have a bunch of guys with unlimited potential and talent and it won’t work unless you find it in you to become a family.”

He reflected on the season just ended.

“I’ve learned to cherish every day and work hard every day because at the end of the day all these days are going to go by and you don’t want to have any regrets.”

Nelson is looking forward to a few showcases this summer, including ones in Las Vegas and St. Louis.