Knights basketball starts season 6-5
When you watch NBA basketball you can’t help but notice how many successful teams are carried by a few key players, you hear how amazing Kobe played, or how LeBron is the new Jordan. But collegiate-level basketball has an entirely different focus: Teamwork. By training all the players to do their best and work together, City’s men’s basketball coach, Mitch Charlens has created and maintained a championship-winning basketball program here at City.
City has been a winning team ever since Charlens took over as head coach in 2003, and he plans to keep it that way. By fostering teamwork and commitment to the sport in his team he has laid the groundwork for a legendary season here at City. Charlens has led the team to three individual Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship victories in his time at City and he doesn’t plan on slowing down.
Most recently the team won the 2011-2012 PCAC championship, and plans on defending that title this season. The team has the raw talent to win another championship, but where they triumph over other teams in the PCAC is with their ability to work as a well-oiled machine. When the Knights take the court it is easy to see the enthusiasm and excitement that Charlens tries to reinforce in them. As well as winning the conference last year, Charlens was named coach of the year and former player Stephon Lamar was named player of the year.
As demonstrated in the annual Knights Invitational that was hosted at City Nov. 16 through 18, the Knights know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they know how to play to them. Even when the Knights fell behind it was their ability to pull together as a team that made them formidable opponents. In the first game of the tournament, the Knights pushed the Cypress Eagles into a triple overtime, leaving the fans on the edge of their seats the entire time. In the final seconds it was sophomore players Devyn Inglehart and Justice Howard who secured the win with an amazing pass and layup, bringing the final score to 116-113.
With returning players like Inglehart and Howard to help guide and refine the skills of freshman teammates, they work together in practice with an efficient and clean style. The comradery that the team shares in practice is obvious when it’s time for them to put points on the board too and this gives them an edge over other teams in the PCAC. Their plays run smoothly and each teammate’s skills are highlighted immediately when they hit the court.
The Knights had an upset in their third game of the tournament though falling to the Mt. San Jancinto Eagles 95-86. The Knights struggled with their defense during the first half of the game allowing the Eagles to rack up 41 points in the first half. While City tried to close the gap they just couldn’t seem to pull together enough in the second half losing their final game and taking second in the tournament overall.
It is obvious when the Knights play that their success isn’t dependent on any one individual, but on everyone that is involved in City’s basketball team. From Coach Charlens providing excellent leadership down to the freshmen team members with their enthusiasm and talent, every single person is a key element of this team.
With enthusiasm backing every move the Knights play basketball like the game was meant to be played – like a real team. There are no superstar players that hog the ball or play for the spotlight, and the coach actually cares about his players and their success. Watching Knights basketball beats watching an NBA game any day.