A young CSU East Bay men’s basketball team finished the 2010-11 season with a combined record of 4-22, finishing last in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
The team’s last win was at home in a 72-66 victory over Chico State on Feb. 16, and since then, the Pioneers have lost five games in a row to close out the season by an average of 15.4 points per game. The team ended with a 2-20 record in CCAA, just four games behind UC San Diego, and eight games behind clinching a potential berth in the CCAA tournament. This year the tournament semifinals and championship round will be held on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 at the Pioneer Gym.
Despite missing out on this year’s conference tournament, coach Will Biggs’s team garnered valuable experience for the eight freshmen on the roster in hopes that this translates into more victories next season and beyond.
“I definitely don’t regret the season, but we could’ve done more outside of practice as a group,” freshman guard Cameron Lew said.
Much of the schedule’s results don’t reflect the effort made by these athletes, yet, like many of their teammates, Lew and freshman guard George Toyama believe an endeavor beyond practice is necessary in order to succeed.
“We had some pretty close games and we could have put in a little extra work,” said Toyama. “Maybe hit the weight room a little bit more as a team or maybe ran together a little bit extra conditioning.”
“There’s always little things that you could’ve done, and overall I really don’t have any regrets,” said Toyama. “I felt that I put in the work that I should have. As a team, though, we definitely could have done more.”
Toyama led all freshmen on the team this season, with 73 total points scored, a 28 percent 3-pt shooting percentage, 24 assists and 27 turnovers. Wearing the number 3, Toyama is soon expected to become an impact player upon the start of next year’s season, along with teammate Rodrigue Maza.
Maza, a freshman forward from Lyon, France, stands at 6’10”, and the big man tied for most blocked shots this season, compiling a total of ten.
These young players all look up to senior captain Will Freedman, whose experience at the collegiate level is a fountain of knowledge that freshmen like Brandon Hrboka plan to partake of in order to succeed.
“Will is probably the most helpful because he’s the most experienced by far and he knew how to talk to us in certain situations and explain things to us real well,” said Hrboka. “It helped us learn more then we could have without him.”
Freedman is one of several playmakers on the team, including senior forward Jared Waters, junior guard Roshun Wynne, sophomore guard Donavon Jackson and the team’s leading scorer, junior guard Mark Samuels. These experienced players carried the team throughout its ups and downs, and, most importantly, provided invaluable knowledge to the freshmen players.
“The main thing is to grow now as a team and individually,” said Toyama. “Everyone needs to improve their games, their weaknesses and therefore, they collectively should have a better season [next year].”