Men’s basketball is looking to build on last year’s success

Sam L. Jaime, Reporter

Bakersfield College men’s basketball coach Rich Hughes can still remember how last season ended. “It was the Sweet 16 against Saddleback. If we won the game, we would be in the Elite Eight. We had the last shot, and it hit double rim, and fell out, and we ended up losing in overtime, but it was one of those games where it’s not even an inch. In your mind, you’re going, ‘If that rolls in, we’re going crazy, because we win it,’ but that’s how it goes sometimes,” said Hughes.

The Renegades want to build upon last season’s success. “We have six returning guys, and we hope to repeat as conference champions and hopefully make another run in the playoffs,” said Hughes.

Those six returning players are expected to have an influential role in guiding the incoming freshmen.

“We really value both freshmen and sophomores, but the sophomores get more of the leadership responsibility because they’ve already been through the fires, so a lot of times we put a lot of the coaching and leadership to the sophomores,” said Hughes.

The Renegades roster features seven freshmen who are faced with the challenge of transitioning from high school to collegiate-level play.

“The biggest thing players coming in have to realize is that the talent level is better than in high school, so they have to give a lot more effort than they were probably used to when they were the best player.

“Now they come into college, and they may be one of some of your best players, but there’s a lot of things they have to do to work and get better, and learn how to play at this level, maturity-wise,” said Hughes.

As the team begins its schedule on Nov. 4, Hughes anticipates an adjustment period for the Renegades.

“Preseason will be important to getting our feet wet as a team, learning about each other, finding out as coaches what works and what doesn’t work, and then we can get an idea of where we need to be once conference starts in January,” said Hughes.