The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

Comets’ basketball players and coaches reflect on a challenging season

After the 2023-2024 season ended, both players and coaches had a few more things on their mind

Both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams gave it their all this past season. The men’s team finished their season with a record of 8-20, while the women’s team ended theirs with a record of 7-14. While players and coaches from both teams seemed focused on their next season, they shared some of their thoughts on how the season went.

Women’s basketball coach, Keith Allison, spoke on challenges regarding a limited number of players.

“We started out with about 16 players, a lot of [them] returners. Unfortunately, without having the necessary support from an athletic counselor – which we’re working on now. It was just hard because a lot of kids fell short because they didn’t have 18 units and the overall 24 units. Some had missed their opportunities to take classes, so we lost a lot of our core players. My little group you saw here tonight were the ones who had everything together,” said Coach Allison. “I knew we were going to compete and it showed in the Napa tournament when City College was ranked I believe number 10 in the state at the time. We gave City College all they could handle – we ended up losing that game by I believe 13, but we went into halftime tied. I had eight players and they toughed it out, and I was very optimistic at that time – we could actually make some noise in the Bay Valley. Tonight’s game being the last game of the season – you’re going to start preparing for the 2024-2025 season.”

Allison also talked about the team’s resiliency and how they faced various injuries.

“I have four actually playing out of the six with injuries. Actually, I had five tonight cause one got injured against Yuba the other night, so I was down to five. They’re just gritty, gusty young ladies. They stay in the fight to the end and they’re not afraid of anything or anyone. I couldn’t be more proud of their ability to finish and compete,” Allison answered.

Allison ended the conversation by talking about a few star players.

“Well there’s a couple of moments that I have in particular. We do have number eight, Nakia Youngblood, who is currently ranked I believe number five in the state of California. She’s a very good player – she was pretty tired tonight, but she stuck it out,” Coach Allison responded. “Number three, Kimberly Zavala, who came to this program with no skill set. I built her from scratch and she’s a fantastic defender, a lockdown defender. She’s not afraid of anyone. She has a pretty good three-point shot as well.”

Meanwhile, the Comets’ Men’s basketball team also reflected on their 2023-2024 season. Assistant coaches, Kevin Bonner and Marshall Collins weighed in on the recruitment process for their team.

Bonner stated, “It started quickly after the season. Contacts with guys out of state, a lot of AAU programs that we know. Just staying in contact and networking. We were able to bring in guys from all over the country [and] from New York. We had guys from Philly previously. With our contacts, that’s how we start and then it just starts in the gym. After that, our main thing is development.”

Collins also had this to say, “For the season, I mean early we lost some guys that we were relying on heavily. That kind of got us to start a little slower than we expected. Having a bunch of freshmen – we actually had like 12-13 freshmen. We knew we would take our bumps. We kind of had to use this year as a learning year, and it showed throughout the year. We were in every single game, it’s just that we couldn’t get over the hump. A lot of times when you have a bunch of freshmen, they don’t understand what it takes to win at the college level and so that’s kind of what we were going through the whole year.”

Head Coach, Miguel Johnson commented, “With everything basically discussed from the beginning, to the middle, and at the end of the season of 2023-2024, to me tonight was a reflection of the entire season. You never want to be someone that is not optimistic. It’s not to say that these guys aren’t capable, but I don’t think as individuals they understood what it took to get here – what it takes to get to a competitive level. Some of it is not having the returners to set the tone in the gym – to show them the model type of behaviors that we need. Not just in the gym, but in the weight room and on the track, putting up extra time, taking the academics seriously and just coming in together as a college basketball team. So I think what has to happen is a ton of development, a ton of accountability, and just getting some more talent in here so that we can get to the level we want to be.”

Lastly, shooting guard Mikey Pierce shared his thoughts on how the season went.

“I feel like coming into this season, I did learn a lot, but obviously things didn’t turn out the way you want. Right now, all we can do is just get ready for the next year by preparing and getting in the weight room all off-season and just taking it from there. As the team looks at me as the team leader, and even though I may not be in that position coming into sophomore year, I feel like that’s a big role for me.”

Pierce seemed motivated and optimistic about next season in creating a better team.

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Leon Watkins, Advocate Staff

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