The Tigers return to the court

By Cameron Winston

One sport can go unnoticed from the spotlight during the rush of winter sports, and that is the return of college basketball.

The month of October was full of events for the sports world. From playoff time for the MLB leading up to the World Series, to hitting the halfway point of the NFL season and the arrival of the NBA season, college basketball is on the rise.

Teams from all divisions and colleges are preparing for a long and competitive season ahead, aiming to capture a conference championship, state or national titles. The Riverside City College Tigers men’s basketball team is one such unit looking to win the Orange Empire Conference.

Coming off a 23-9 record last season that took them to the Southern California Regionals finals, the Tigers will look to improve on an otherwise impressive season. According to the Rccathletics page, the Tigers have earned a preseason ranking of eleventh in California and sixth in Southern California.

Last season, the Tigers finished third in their conference right behind Saddleback College and Fullerton College.  They were the only two teams that the Tigers suffered defeats to in conference play that had them going 8-4.

“They are traditionally strong programs,” said head coach Philip Matthews. “It’s like what you have in the PAC-12 with Arizona and UCLA. Those are traditionally strong programs.”

RCC averaged an impressive 80 points a game last season against their opponents and seem to be on track to either keep that same average or increase it. With four returning players on the roster, they look to emulate that success. Those returning are sophomore guards Andre Wilson, Brae Ivey, CJ Clark and forward Kane Daniels.

Brae Ivey is a 6-feet 2 inch tall point guard to look out for this season. Coming off All-League honors a season ago, averaging 11.9 points a game and 3.7 assists, the team views Ivey as one of the best shooters on the team. He acts as the floor general of the team alongside being the starting point guard.

Wilson is the team’s 6-feet 4 inch shooting guard that was awarded All-League honors as well. Wilson averaged 12.7 points per game while shooting an efficient 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from the three-point line. According to Rccathletics, he ended a game with double-digit scoring in 20 out of 30 games.

“The sophomores are going to have to carry us until the young guys come along,” said Mathews. “To have four guys back from a 23-win team that gives you some encouragement.”

One freshman making noise this upcoming season is Jordan Robinson, a 6-feet 7 inch forward out of King High School. An impressive athlete, Robinson averaged 17.1 points a game, as well as 14.3 rebounds a game, 2.1 steals a game and 2.9 blocks a game. Expectations from the team this season are for him to be an inside force in the paint, accumulate rebounds, and just be versatile on both sides of the ball.

The Tigers have spent the offseason like every team, focusing on ways to get better. One of the team’s main areas of focus that coach Mathews has emphasized to the team is defense. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. With the right personnel and some experience coming back from last year’s team, the Tigers look to be on the right path to compete for a conference title this season.

Preseason for the Tigers starts Nov.  2, where they will be playing in the Ventura College Tournament. They will look to set the tone against two of their league opponents, Fullerton College and San Bernardino Valley College, early on in the upcoming tournament.

Every game will be critical for the Tigers, but the biggest showdowns will not come until they face rivals Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College.        exif:RecommendedExposureIndex=”320”

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t better. One of the team’s main areas of focus that coach Phillips has emphasized to the team is defense. As the saying goes, ‘defense wins championships.’ With the right personnel and some experience coming back from last year’s team the Tigers look to be on the right path to compete for a conference title this season.

Preseason for the Tigers starts November 2, where they will be playing in the Ventura College Tournament. They will look to set the tone against two of their league opponents, Fullerton College and San Bernardino Valley College, early on in the upcoming tournament.

Every game will be critical for the Tigers, but the biggest showdowns will not come until league against rivals Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College.

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