As the Cañada College men’s basketball team prepares for its final seven games of the season, first year Head Coach Mike Reynoso has reason for optimism, despite the team’s 5-15 record. A roster that features nine freshmen is beginning to grow in confidence.
“We are making some strides, just trying to work hard every day and get better,” Reynoso said. “The two things we can control are our attitude and our effort. If we stay consistent with those two things we can win and compete against any team.”
The Colts have shown they can score. They average 81.6 points per game, second in the rugged Coast-North Conference. Freshman guard Israel Hakim leads the league in scoring, averaging 20.9 points-per-game. Hakim played high school basketball at Palo Alto High School where the team won the De Anza League title three straight years and Hakim was named first-team all-league in his senior season.
“I chose to play at Cañada because I felt that Coach Reynoso had a lot of knowledge and skill to be a great coach,” Hakim said. “Also, after the first week of practice, I felt the team was a great group of guys.”
Hakim said the Colts have a high-powered offense with plenty of shooters. Forward Rohndell Goodwin is averaging 14.9 ppg and guard Kenny Hatch is averaging 11 ppg.
Reynoso said Goodwin and Hakim have helped the team stay positive despite the lack of wins. “Israel is an unbelievable athlete who has been great on the glass for us (averaging 5.8 rebounds per game) as well as a guy we can count on for 20 points a night.” Reynoso said Hakim has the ability to play Division I basketball. “If he commits himself to working on his ball handling and shoots the ball more consistently and at an intense level, he has a chance to get a scholarship.”
Hakim describes his role on the team as the “energy” guy. “A dunk can boost the team’s energy and get us going,” he said. “I want to get the team going. Our biggest strength as a team is our hustle.”
Reynoso said Goodwin has made a remarkable recovery from two ACL surgeries and is just starting to find his groove. “It takes mental toughness to come back from that type of injury and start to play free and aggressive again, but he’s getting there. Rohndell is a guy who can do a little bit of everything on the floor, handle the ball, shoot the three, and rebound.”
The Colts face Skyline College on Wednesday at 7 pm in the second game of a four-game home stand. Reynoso said the home crowd energizes the team. “It’s nice to play at home,” he said. “The support we get from the students and staff is great. Our guys really enjoy it and are fueled by the crowd.”
Hakim said the team enters the final seven games on its schedule with growing confidence. “At first we didn’t have a lot of confidence but now we realize what we’re capable of doing in games. That confidence has led to increased hustle in practice and in games and that’s big.”