City College men’s basketball rises to No. 5 in the state

The Knights now turn their attention to No. 2 Fullerton on Dec. 8


Sophomore point guard Lorenzo Wright, right, shoots and AI Green, left, contests a jump shot in practice ahead of their big game against Fullerton. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

Antonio Contreras, Multimedia Journalist

For Anjay Cortez, a sophomore forward for the San Diego City College men’s basketball team, it was a simple drill – make free throws in practice.

However, if he missed even one, the entire team had to run the length of the court. 

After practice, Knights teammate Lorenzo Wright felt hyped up and ready to face the next challenge on the court against tough opponents. 

“It is going well so far,” Wright said. “We’re just starting to learn each other’s roles but everything is going good so far.”

The next real test comes Dec. 8, with the Knights opening in a very competitive Fullerton College Classic against the host Hornets, ranked No. 2 in the state.

“We practice hard each and every day and we can’t wait,” Wright added. “We’re just ready to get the No. 1 spot.”

San Diego City College has moved up four spots to No. 5 in the latest state rankings. The Knights are off to a 7-1 start after taking down previously undefeated Yuba (6-1) in the title game of the Grossmont Tournament last weekend.

It marked the second year in a row and fifth time in the last six seasons City College claimed the tournament title. Sophomore Anthony Howell was named Most Outstanding Player and Kevin Bradley Jr. was selected to the all-tournament team.

City College has now equaled its highest ranking from last season when the Knights finished 26-4 overall.

And head coach Mitch Charlens believes his team can still improve despite being ranked No. 5.

“It’s a balancing act of trying to give the guys some rest after playing three games in three days from the weekend and starting tomorrow with one of the best teams in the state,” Charlens said. “It’s great we got ranked fifth in the state, but this would be a great test playing ranked opponents this week to see how great we are.”

After Fullerton, City plays No. 21 L.A. Southwest (5-2) on Friday at 5 p.m. and then wraps up the week against No. 10 Citrus (6-2) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Winning all three has the potential to raise the profile of the team even more.

Sophomore forward Antony Howell, right, shoots a layup and Jaden LeBel, left, attempts to block his shot in practice.
Sophomore forward Antony Howell, right, shoots a layup and Jaden LeBel, left, attempts to block his shot in practice. Coach Mitch Charlens, far right, prepares his team against tough opponents, starting with Fullerton. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

“We celebrate all the wins but it’s just a stepping stone to where we want to go next,”  said second-year forward Antony Howell (Youngstown, Ohio). “We know how good they are, we know how big this game is and we’re looking to get the job done.”

Still, Charlens knows how great of a team Fullerton is behind head coach Perry Webster, freshman guard Sean Newsman Jr. and sophomore Shaquli Bender.

Both Newsman Jr. and Bender are leading the team in points scored, averaging about 15 points per game. The team as a whole averages about 87 points per game. 

“We have a great history against them,” Charlens said. “They’re a great program and I think it’ll be a great game.”

To watch the Knights’ game against Fullerton, check out the Fullerton Athletics Youtube channel here.