With changes on the sidelines and new faces, Pierce men’s basketball are back this season to not only dribble the ball to a championship, but also across the stage to a four year.
Head Coach Charles White said he wants to win but his teams academic standing is what matters more to him. He said it doesn’t matter to him whether they graduate in June or take the extra summer.
“I want to make sure you guys are transferring to that next level and that the academic consensus is on point and that they’re on target to graduate,” White said.
White said if he were to see less than nine of his players graduate it would be a disappointment.
“I want to win, but to see those guys walk across the stage in a basketball program always does my heart good,” White said.
White returns to the helm after Casey Weitzel left for a job at Midwestern State University.
White said he looks forward to the first game of the season. He said it will be a tough battle to win the conference and to make it to the playoffs. He said he hopes his team will make it.
“Normally in our conference, three teams make it to the playoffs so we want to hopefully be one of those three,” White said.
Forward Kevin Fassu said the team has a lot of sophomores and returning players. He said the experience will benefit the team.
“All the guys know what’s going to come and know how to handle the situation. I think that we’re going to be pretty good team this year,” Fassu said.
He said he and his team look forward to playing against their rival College of the Desert on Nov. 9.
“I think that’s a rival because they beat us the first time about 30 so we’re looking forward to getting them back,” Fassu said.
The team is also welcoming new assistant coach Leslie Thompson. He was at Glendale Community College for three years with the men’s program and four years with the women’s team before making the switch to Pierce.
Thompson said he looks forward to hosting them on Nov. 26 and will find it interesting. He said he’s seen the team work together and put in the hard work. He adds they have worked hard on the defense and rebound.
“We have some talent, we’ve got some skills. I think we have the charisma and character to go long distances, but you’ve got to do it on the court,” Thompson said.
White said he’s happy with Thompson joining his staff along with other returning coaches.
He said his staff is one he can trust and work well with.
“I don’t have to look over my back. I know they know what they’re doing. We’re talking the same language and we’re on the same page with each other. If we’re not, we’ll discuss it,” White said.
Fassu said he’s excited for the team in addition to the sophomores and freshmen on the team.
“We have a bright young team, so we’re looking really good this year,” Fassu said.
Their first game will be on Friday, Nov. 1 as part of the three-day Miramar Tournament.