Fresh faces bring DVC basketball hope

Gabriel Agurcia, Staff Writer

The DVC men’s basketball team looks to pull a Kentucky in the community college ranks: have success with a team consisting of mostly freshman.

DVC has gotten off to a great 5-1 start, going 2-1 at the Shasta Invitational and 3-0 at the Chevron Invitational, where they defeated Umpqua Community College in the championship game.

The quick start is a good sign, considering DVC only returned one player from last year’s 24-6 team, guard Damon Jones. Joining him as the only other sophomore is Mike Harris, a transfer from Cal Lutheran.

Head coach Steve Coccimiglio has high hopes for his freshman, particularly center John Ocon and point guard Jelani Hardaway. Coccimiglio feels Ocon can be a big difference maker, providing matchup issues due to his 6 foot 8 inch, 290 pound frame. And Coccimiglio believes Hardaway can be a very good point guard. “Jelani Hardaway, as his court vision and play making gets better, we can have a nice offensive attack,” Coccimiglio said.

Coccimiglio stated that breaking bad habits is the toughest part of coaching a predominantly young team. “You see more kids coached by AAU coaches rather than high school coaches. And the problem is, they don’t coach footwork. I think it’s because they don’t have the practice time, or the knowledge.”

Despite the growing pains the team will face throughout the season, Coccimiglio expects a good season from his team. He believes the road to the conference title runs through Santa Rosa, as they are defending champions who also return four of their five starters from last year. When asked if DVC can win conference this year, Coccimiglio answered honestly and confidently. “Can we do it? Yes. Because we have a potentially really good team, especially at point and post.”

DVC’s next home game is Jan. 11, against San Joaquin Delta.