You couldn’t have scripted last season any better for the City College of San Francisco men’s basketball team.
A 32-1 record that was topped off with a thrilling 83-81 win over Citrus, bringing the state championship back to CCSF for the first time since 1962.
With most of the players gone from a squad that broke the school’s 49-year title drought, the Rams have reloaded.
On paper, this team is more talented than last season’s, however, with nine new players, they are still trying to mesh and find their niche.
“Last year, we had the luxury of having a lot of returning players and some guys who transferred in with experience,” coach Justin Labagh said. “We have a team that is completely new.”
Labagh feels this team is more talented than last season’s team, but lacks in experience.
Garrett Moon, Myron Respress and Ivan Dorsey are the only members on the team this season who logged game minutes for the Rams last season.
“Its tough every year in junior college basketball and it’ll change year-to-year,” Labagh said. “Last year was something that happens once every 10 years in terms of having a lot of experience.”
So far, the inexperience has led to two losses, one more than all of last season.
The top newcomers for the Rams this season are point guard Thomas Cooper, small forward Raysean Hairston, and combo guard Delon Wright, the younger brother of Golden State Warriors swingman Dorrell Wright.
Guard McKenzie Moore and 6-foot-11 Brazilian Gabriel Aguirre give the Rams incredible depth. However, Labagh noted his team has a long way to go.
“We have a bunch of guys that were great for their respective high schools, and were the best players on their team,” Labagh said. “But are they used to the every day demands and requirements that me and my coaching staff put on them? No.”
The Rams have lost two tournament championships so far. An 84-82 decision to Santa Rosa on Nov. 13 in the City College Tip-Off Classic, and was on the wrong side of a blowout loss to Fresno this past Sunday.
The two losses the Rams have suffered thus far is one more than all of last season.
Going forward, Labagh sees two glaring things that are holding his unit back from living to its potential.
“The thing I’m disappointed in is the intensity the guys are bringing onto the [court],” Labagh said. “Playing like a team and putting the team first. We’re not there yet.”