By Seles Rodriguez / Staff writer
By Seles Rodriguez / Staff writer
The Riverside City College men’s basketball team will kick off its 2012-2013 season on Nov. 6 with its official scrimmage. The Tigers will open the season with a brand new team having 13 freshman players and seven returners.
Coach John Smith has great expectations for his team this year and sees a great advantage of their height and ability to perform as a team. “We have a stronger, bigger and taller team this season,” Smith said. He also stated that they are still in the process of learning but senses that they will be ready by November when they will begin to play against other schools.
“Saddleback and Irvine Valley are the two schools in our conference that are always our toughest foes,” Smith said.
In addition to summer practices, each year Smith organizes a number of teams building strategies to create a strong unit. He strongly believes the team has built a stronger chemistry on and off the court due to these events that took place in the mountains, homes and TV recordings. He has confidence in the idea of the team building trust within the players that will carry on to the court. Still learning each other’s weaknesses and strengths, the players have a good standing leaving nothing but room for improvement.
“Those guys are like brothers and that’s huge because that will carry over as we start developing our system,” Smith said.
Smith has set his expectations high and only accepts 110% effort on the court. With the leadership of Dominique Lanier, Jeff Gonzalez, and Anthony Rounds this is sure to be a successful season for the Tigers. An additional player to keep your eyes on this year would be freshman Macam Macam from Lynn, Massachusetts. Macam is doing surprisingly well given that he hasn’t played since his junior year in high school when he tore his ACL on court as well as his disability to hear. “Over the past couple weeks he has made an incredible improvement,” Smith said. “He has become an extraordinary addition to the team.”
“We’ve been at the level of the regional eight, nine out of the 13 years so we’re used to getting there but it takes the sophomores to help the young guys get to that point.” Smith said.
The team has been practicing since the beginning of summer on defense, shooting averages, and speed with the strong guidance from Smith. This will be Smith’s thirteenth year coaching the Tigers and has developed many strategies practiced over the years to improve team performance. An example of one of these strategies is a team drill where the players are placed into small groups and attempt to score one hundred points within a ten minute time frame. Every year Smith practices this drill and each year the team only gets passed fifty points but this drill is believed to push the lineup to play harder.
“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to continue to get what you got,” Smith said to his team, suggesting that they give him more and more each day to advance in performance.
The team is excited to finally have the home court advantage of playing in RCC’s newly renovated gym. “That type of atmosphere gives you just so much motivation, you don’t want to let your home crowd down,” Smith said.
The Tigers have predicted a larger audience and better atmosphere with the familiarity of our new basketball stadium. The Tigers will be holding their “Midnight Madness” on Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. after the homecoming football game. At the event, the team will be introduced; there will be a dunk and three point contest as well as a fifteen minute scrimmage.