The men’s basketball team has begun its journey to the national championship. The players and coaches alike have set up their goals, strategies and their predictions for the outcome of the season.
Nick Larkin is one of the new players on the team. He wants to have a voice this season as well as a role model.
“I want to be a better leader and be more vocal,” Larkin said. “As a team, work hard in practice, listen to coaches, and just grow and get better each day.”
Anthony Lupardus ultimately wants his team to play in the national championship. He believed that practice makes perfect and if the team works hard, it will pay off.
“My goal for the team is to make it to the national championship,” Lupardus said. “We just have to come together as a team. It starts off in practice, we gotta work hard every day and be perfect. We need to translate what we do in practice into the game. We have a good opportunity to do something great, we just need to come together.”
Assistant coach Brandon Burgette is preparing the players for the challenges they could be facing on the court. One of the biggest trials they face occurs within the team.
“The biggest challenge is playing against competition since we’re [a younger team] and most teams have more sophomores and transfers. Understanding how to play together [is another challenge],” Burgette said. “I think another one of the biggest challenges is building brotherhood, trusting each other, learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and getting used to each other.”
Burgette wanted his players to be prepared for the problems they would be facing off the court as well. He explained that he planned to be a role model for his players and what they could gain from his leadership.
“I want them to be learning basketball not just on the court but off the court as well,” Burgette said. “[I want them to be] learning how to be professionals, learning how to grow and learning the aspect of life itself,” “[They need to be] a role model, a leader and do things the right way whether it’s in the community or its in the classroom. I think those are the big key things outside of basketball that I want these guys to understand. I want to be a father figure and a brother they never had, I want them to be able to gain that.”
Head coach Mike Jeffers explained that the ultimate goal for the team is to win the national title. Improvement was another goal Jeffers has for his team.
“I think your ultimate goal every year is to get to the national tournament,” Jeffers said. “As far as our players, is get them to improve everyday as individual players and as a team. You’re either improving or getting worse every time you step on the floor.”
Always putting in effort was a lesson Jeffers wanted his players to learn from him. Jeffers felt confident that his players could overcome any obstacles that may come their way.
“They’ve got to come and do their best everyday,” Jeffers said. “Regardless of where you are in life, what job you’re in … You’ve got to grind every day whether you want to or not. That’s the way the world is, that’s life after college. I think we’ve got some good guys and they’re gonna grind it out and they’re gonna battle and we aren’t gonna give up, we’re gonna keep battling.”
The men’s basketball roster, schedule and game results for the 2016-2017 season are online at www.jccc.edu/cavs.