The PCC men’s basketball team is bad. And when I say bad, I mean awful. Horrible, substandard, inferior, unacceptable, or abhorrent. It doesn’t matter what synonym you choose, they all apply. It’s gotten so ugly that the bus driver should start charging the student-athletes for rides. I hate to criticize so harshly, but they are the second-worst basketball team in the entire state. And there are 100 teams from as far north as Mendocino College all the way down south towards the three San Diego colleges. The only team that is worse than PCC is Imperial Valley College.
I’m sure you must be asking yourself, how bad can it be? For starters, they are 1-19. They have lost each game on an average of 24 points. They lost to Ventura 78-37. They lost to LA Harbor 110-61. And the award for the worst loss at PCC so far this season is to East Los Angeles Community College 115-58. The one win came from Glendale Community College but that’s after they had beaten PCC by 50 points earlier in the year. News flash, you don’t earn draft picks for tanking at the community college level.
A few days ago I stopped by interim head coach Hosie Ward’s office. Before I entered his office, I noticed that the nameplate on the office door still read coach Swanegan. Swanegan was the coach of the PCC men’s basketball team for 13 years. Swanegan unexpectedly retired in October and PCC decided to move on with Ward for the foreseeable future. I am accustomed to coaches ignoring me as I interview them, but this time was different. Ward was processing paperwork because he’s the only full-time coach on staff. The other basketball coach, Jesse Ellis, is a part-time off-campus coach. Even after the game against L.A. Trade Tech, he was grabbing the basketballs and putting them back into storage, something you might see from a graduate assistant or a staff member.
According to the athletic director Tony Barbone, the men’s basketball head coaching position closed last Friday. That’s the one bright spot. But the new coach probably won’t start until the Fall of 2022. He’ll be given a better chance than Ward because the unexpected retirement of Swanegan left the program in flux. In addition to that, the coronavirus also hampered the team from recruiting or making visits. That’s why the roster is all freshman and one sophomore.
On the court, this team is very frustrating to watch by the lack of defensive effort. They are led by freshman point guard Detroit, Michigan native, Jordan Flowers. He’s a 6-2 point guard who has a very nice cross over and good speed. He’s averaging 15.5 points per game on 35.7% shooting. He’s also averaging 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. Most notably, he’s averaging 2 steals per game which looks great on paper. But the game felt different. He was often found lunging at ball carriers, not putting a hand up or closing out on open shooters, and quitting on his defensive assignments. I asked two of his teammates whether his lack of defensive effort hurt the team, but they declined and said it was an overall team issue.
Although he’s leading them in minutes and scoring, it begs the question. Is Flowers romanticism or reality? The romanticism is that Flowers is PCC’s best offensive player. But the reality is that he’s also their worst defender in terms of effort. To make matters worse, when the game against L.A. Trade Tech fell out of hand, he shouted at a gentleman in the stands, mid play and ambled to the other side of the court. He asked him what they were having for dinner with his jersey already untucked.
Let me be clear. Flowers isn’t the only person or reason why this team is losing games. They lack real size on the inside. Sophomore forward Joseph Rousseau is one of the tallest guys on the team at 6’4. Rousseau isn’t a natural banger. He plays like a guard. His tendencies are always shifting him to the perimeter on the court. In the last three games alone, they’ve been out rebounded 61-28, 48-29, and 41-33. On this team, Rousseau needs to grab more rebounds if they plan to win any more games.
The PCC sports department has to be frustrated, especially since last semester the PCC football and volleyball teams were successful in spite of the constant testing and lack of familiar acquaintances. The football team won a bowl game and the volleyball team was a few games away from winning state. We even wrote an article titled “How PCC Sports Owned the Pandemic.” All I’m asking for is a little bit of heart and effort. Is that too much? Or is tonight’s meal more important than the game we all claim to love?
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