General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2006-07 > 2006-11-20: Men's Basketball Ready to Take Flight

News Release - November 20, 2006

MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

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File: NR-Basketball


Ukiah, CA – As another season of basketball tips off for Mendocino College, the Eagles will do so with a well-balanced blend of experienced sophomores and talented freshmen.  

The Eagles return four players from last season’s team that finished 4th in the Bay Valley Conference and welcome nine new players.  

Local high school basketball fans will enjoy the influx of regional flavor to this year’s squad.  Former high school basketball players from Mendocino, Sonoma and Lake Counties all could be represented on the court at the same time this season.  
“We have a mature group who are established and committed to getting educated and playing basketball at the highest level possible at Mendocino College.  We have a lot of local talent and some special talents from other parts of California.  We will play up tempo and we will be very tenacious,” Mendocino College Head Basketball Coach Kevin Koch said.  
The Eagles will be led by a multitude of perimeter players.  During the early part of the season, the team will rely on the leadership and experience of the sophomores.
Led by last season’s First Team All Bay Valley Conference selection Jared Giammona (Elsie Allen), the Eagles will have three other players with college playing experience in the backcourt.

Tyrone Reed (transfer from West Los Angeles College), Kao Saelee (Armijo High School, Fairfield, Ca), and Xavier White (McClymonds High School, Oakland, Ca.) will bring valuable court presence to this year’s team.
As the freshmen reach their comfort level on the court, more will be expected from newcomers Brandon Ballard (Montgomery High School), Craig Bernardi (Cloverdale High School), Will Curry (Upper Lake High School), Canyon Miller (Analy High School), and David Tapia (Williams High School).  

Due to the depth at the guard position, many will be challenging for playing time. “Our 1, 2, and 3 spots are pretty wide open.  With about nine guys who are pretty evenly matched, players will separate themselves by their defense, rebounding, and execution,” Koch said.
The sharp shooting of the perimeter will be counted on to take the pressure off the Eagle’s interior scoring.  Sophomore Ben Lukas (Ukiah High School) is the lone post presence returning to action for Mendocino.  Lukas welcomes former high school teammate Zack Corns (Ukiah High School).  Along with Lukas and Corns, Josh Gipson (Middletown High School) and Pace Samuels (Piner High School) will add depth inside.  

“We expect our post players to display the blue-collar attitude we want our team to play with.  I know we will create open looks for each other and score, since this is a very unselfish group,” Koch said.  

“The challenge to the team will be containing the other teams’ post players and to hold our own on the rebounding statistics.  We must hustle and be willing to do the dirty work as a whole, not individually.  We call it ‘paying the price’ to be successful.  There is not much glory in rebounding and post defense but we must respect it to reach the goals we have set for ourselves,” Koch added.  

The Eagles will host Butte College, Lassen College and Las Positas College November 17th – 18th in the Eagle Invitational.
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Created: November 20, 2006 @ 11:00 AM
Last Modified: November 20, 2006 @ 11:00 AM


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