Expectations high for rest of men’s basketball season

Photo by David Saveanu | Pointguard Marcus Latham makes a rush for the basket on Jan. 18, 2018.

Photo by David Saveanu | Pointguard Marcus Latham makes a rush for the basket on Jan. 18, 2018.

David Saveanu

Reporter

Parkland’s men’s basketball team has been on a long winning streak, with 16 wins this season, but has recently experienced setbacks, bringing the total losses for the season to four.

The team struggled after their winning streak, losing to both John Wood, and Danville by 1 point.

“Our men are currently ranked #3 in the NJCAA and are 14–2,” said Rod Lovett, director of Parkland’s athletics department, prior to the team’s last few games. They now boast a record of 17-4.

Quin Nottingham, a point guard on the team, said that the team started the year strong, but has been struggling the last few games and not playing as well.

“We started out really good in the beginning of the year,” Nottingham said. “We beat the team that was best in conference…we just haven’t been playing well our last games.”

He explained that while everyone on the team is talented, sometimes in games, things go wrong.

“We have a lot people that are capable and talented, and they try and make plays to help the team, but [end up] not making a good decision at the time, then someone else will do the same thing; it’s like a domino effect,” he said. “When we get down, we kind of break off.”

Marcus Latham, another point guard for the men’s team explained that the mistakes in the last few games are due in part to “poor execution” and a “lack of focus.”

The men’s basketball team has five more games, assuming they go to nationals. The games on Feb. 21, 24, and March 3 will be held at Parkland College, the rest will be away games.

The team is hopeful that they will go to nationals. Players O’Neal Swint, a guard, and Isaiah Curry, a forward, responded with a resounding “we are going to nationals.”

The team is under a lot of stress being only a few games away from the post season.

“All of our games from this point forward will have a big impact on us moving forward in the post season,” said Anthony Figueroa, head coach of the team.

Figueroa said it will be the team’s depth that will bring them to nationals this season.

“We have a lot of guys who help us win games and then our defense has been much better since the start of the new year,” Figueroa said. “Simply put, I expect us to compete every day and work hard to improve.”

Another player, Kemonte Hall said he feels the team will succeed because of how much they have grown together over the season and the talent they have on the team.

“We grew,” Hall said. “In the beginning of the season we weren’t really together, but now we’re really together, so it’s a big difference,”

“In the beginning of the season, we didn’t know how to handle success but now we do. Once we win, we get in the gym and work harder,” he said. “We just haven’t been getting the job done, and it hurts losing by a point, but we’re going to get it together and we’re going to start another winning streak again.”

The team had to overcome a lot this season according to Figueroa.

“Acclimating the new guys to how our program is run and the daily expectations of being a Cobra,” was one of the biggest struggles Figueroa said.

The team has welcomed 10 new players this season who have had to make this adjustment.

The team trains hard in hopes of a successful remainder of the season.

“A typical day for our guys is classes from 9 a.m.–2 p.m., practice from 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. and then at least one hour of study hall. This is four or five days a week depending on our game schedule,” Figueroa said.

Some leading scorers to look out for at the next games are Latham, Nottingham, and Jordache Mavunga according to Figueroa.

For more information on the upcoming game times and updated scores, visit parkland.edu/athletics, and click on “men’s basketball” on the left-hand side of the page.