Knights men’s basketball team prepares for upcoming season

City College will play five straight games against CCCAA opponents starting Nov. 3


Sophomore point guards Lorenzo Wright, left, and Kevin Bradley Jr., right, perform one-on-one drills during team practice. Coach Mitch Charlens, far right, hopes this new team will succeed in their opener on Thursday against CCCAA opponent Compton. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

Antonio Contreras, Multimedia Journalist

After two years away from Harry West Gym – one year because of the pandemic and a second due to a one-year assistant coaching stint at the University of San Diego – San Diego City College men’s basketball coach Mitch Charlens feels like he never left. 

“It feels great,” he said.

The City College men’s basketball team is preparing for a busy November schedule, tipping off its 2022-23 season on Nov. 3.

Over a 17-day stretch, the Knights will play five California Community College Athletic Association games to start their season.

The games against non-conference teams Compton (12-14 last year) and Santa Monica (11-17 last year) count for state rankings, overall season wins and playoffs standings.

In the 2021-22 season, the Knights fell short against MiraCosta in the Sweet 16, but went 16-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and finished 25-4 overall. 

Then in the summer, City College announced Charlens had returned as head coach of the men’s basketball team after one season as an assistant with USD. 

Although the team had a successful season last year under interim head coach Andy Ground, Charlens is coaching a new team in the 2022-23 season.

Sophomore point-guards Lorenzo Wright, left, and Kevin Bradley Jr., right, contest a jump shot in team practice
Sophomore point guard Lorenzo Wright, left, shoots and Kevin Bradley Jr., right, contests a jump shot in practice ahead of their opener. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

“We have some talent, we did a great job recruiting a lot of good players,” Charlens said. “But they’re all brand new to me and brand new to each other and it’s gonna take some time to get that continuity.”

Charlens wasn’t surprised at how great the team performed last year, but knows that each season is different, especially with a new team. 

“It might take us longer to get connected because none of these guys have played together before now,” Charlens said. “So we’re looking to just get better every day and that’ll be our goal.”

For Charlens and his team, featuring a mix of nine freshmen and six sophomores, building chemistry is the key to a winning season.

 “We come out after practice, we shoot around to build team chemistry,” second-year forward Anjay Cortez (Charlotte, N.C.) said. “That’s the part that’s gonna matter the most is that chemistry off the court.”

Charlens has high expectations for his team and the players are ready for the challenge.

“Definitely as long as we continue to work hard, get better, build that team chemistry and continue to match, I’m positive we have that chance,” Cortez said.

To view the Knights’ schedule, check out the City College athletics website here.