Historic ranking brings opportunity

For the first time in NCAA history, the men’s basketball team at California Baptist University is ranked No. 10 on the Sporting News Top-Ten Division II Teams.

Rick Croy, head coach of the men’s basketball, said the accomplishment is a reflection of the work the team has done over the last two years.

“It doesn’t speak to anything that we’ve done this year, but it honors the last two graduating classes and their excellence,” Croy  said. “We have a veteran group that knows what they’re doing, and we’re trying to make sure the incoming freshman get on the same page as soon as possible.”

Croy said the players are focused and committed to both the game and one another.

“There are many programs all over the country with great players and great coaches,” he said. “The teams that are the most committed together are the teams that end up winning in the end.”

Croy also added that he’s looking forward to seeing a team that is united.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on brotherhood, playing for CBU and playing for each other,” Croy said. “Coaches love practice and players love games.”

Trevone Williams, senior sociology major and forward, said it is exciting to be ranked in the top 10.

“There are a lot of basketball players in the worldand they don’t have an opportunity to be ranked or to be seen,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing basketball all my life and it’s a lifestyle for me.”

Williams said he has high hopes for this season, hoping the team will mesh well together and win the championship title.

“Hopefully, this season will go well,” he said. “We’re going through the learning phase because we have a lot of new guys. Last year, we made it to the Sweet Sixteen and that was the best the team did in years, but we want to win everything.”

Last season, the program experienced its best year, making its name known in the NCAA, finishing 26-7 overall. This year, the program will look to win it all.

The team will begin play early this year against the Dragons of Minnesota State University, Moorhead in the CCA Tip-Off Classic, Oct. 30. The team opens at home Nov. 13 against California State University, Dominguez Hills, during the PacWest/CCAA conference challenge.

About Jeff Kissel

Sports Editor

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