Men Hold Their Own Against Division I Opponents

HAIMING JIN / THE PIONEER

Amanda Zepeda

A successful season of fall CSU East Bay sports is almost in the books and now CSUEB looks forward to a successful winter with men’s basketball leading the way.

The young and vibrant CSUEB basketball team opened the 2010-2011 season with a pair of exhibition games against Division

I schools and fared well, falling by just 12 points to CSU Bakersfield on Nov. 4, with a final score of 83-71 and losing by just 7 points to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a final score of 70-63 on Nov. 6.

Led by senior and Team Captain Will Freedman who scored 26 points against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Pioneers put up a good fight.

“We were expected to get blown away by these Division I schools, but at the very least, we made them nervous. The way our offense has looked in these games, we’re going to score a lot of points throughout this season.

This makes us very optimistic going into next week,” said Freedman.

The Pioneers open the regular season at home against Academy of Art on Nov. 16 and under the guidance of Coach Will Biggs, they look to start the season on a good note.

“The preseason games are getting us ready for our Division II conference matchups. I am happy to see how competitive this team is. They aren’t afraid to compete and play against the best, and I think they feel they can beat the best. Academy of Art is a good team, but I expect our kids to represent us well,” said coach Biggs.

In the opinion of the coach, the men’s basketball team had a mediocre campaign last year, finishing 12th in the CCAA, with a 6-12 overall record.

However, he expects this year’s team to be at a higher level than where they were a year ago.

Team Captain Will Freedman shares this same enthusiasm.

“We’re going to have a better season this year than last year. We’re going to get all of our young guys developed and we are all very confident going into our first regular season game,” said Freedman.

This year’s Pioneer squad has four returning players from last year. They are joined by eight new freshmen, and it’s George Toyama from Pasadena who is expected to contribute a big part to the team as a starter.

“Competing at the college level is a big change from playing in high school, but I am ready to put in hard work. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I am excited to get the season under way,” said Toyama.

Toyama kept the Pioneers close in their exhibition game against CSU Bakersfield, scoring 18 points and shooting 4 of 5 from three-point range.

“Going into this first preseason game, I was nervous yet confident. I know the team had a tough record last year, but I can promise that won’t happen again this year.

There is great team chemistry present. I am definitely excited and I know we will entertain the home crowd and get some wins,” said Toyama.

Toyama received a great deal of recognition from Coach Biggs over his performance in his first exhibition games.

“Already as a freshmen, George is a solid player. I expect him to be a top contributor all season long,” said Biggs.

With CSUEB women’s volleyball having a successful season this year, Team Captain Will Freedman sees this as an opportunity to continue the university’s success.

“We’re feeding off the vibe of our volleyball team, and we plan to do what they did this season. They had such a big jump from last year to this year, and it is inspirational to watch that,” said Freedman.

Prowling the sidelines, head coach Biggs is set to enter his 14th season as coach of the Pioneers with the honor of having the most wins in program history with an overall record of 202-154.

With the enthusiasm of starting freshmen George Toyama, the leadership of Team Captain Will Freedman and the energy evident in every player on the team, it is no surprise why Coach Biggs, the rest of his coaching staff and the university as a whole sense something special brewing for this year’s season.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to play hard. The more people in the crowd cheering for us, the better we’re going to play. By the looks of it, we’re definitely going to be an exciting team to watch,” said coach Biggs.