Keeping their hoops high: a season preview of the CSUB men’s basketball team

Cosme Garcia, Sports Reporter

The CSUB men’s Basketball team welcomes in the new season with plenty of fresh faces and high hopes for the upcoming season. The 2022-2023 ‘Runners team includes seven newcomers and six returning players as the team looks forward to meshing both units to surprise and thrive under Head Coach Rod Barnes. In the coaches’ preseason poll, CSUB was ranked 8th out of 11 teams in the Big West, but that that didn’t seem to bother Coach Barnes, who now enters his 12th season.

Coach Barnes talked about how his team embraces the underdog mentality and that he himself has been an underdog his entire life. Barnes talked about the youth and inexperience of the team, but anticipates them to be ready by December when Big West conference play begins.

According to Barnes, the newness of the team and newness of the season has him excited to showcase what the team has been working on in training and practice. Barnes continued by saying that the fans can expect the team to shoot more 3-pointers and to shoot them better. Not to mention, he commended the team for their variety when it comes to lineups and skills.

Barnes pointed out that the team needs to work on being better defensively connected and rebounding but that the team “just overall has more skill guys” and has “all the pieces” to be serious contenders in the rigorous league.

Returning sophomore guard, Ivan Reynolds (23), spoke about the team’s work ethic and put emphasis on the team having a “defense first” mentality. Reynolds acknowledged that the team is young and inexperienced, yet he countered by saying that the team has versatility and is “full of energy.”

Regarding the team’s aspirations, Reynolds made it known that the team wants to have a winning season, be one of the top teams in the conference, and wants to make and win the tournament in order to reach March Madness. He described the team as being full of hard workers who never give up and battle every day to be better.

One of the most vital returning players is senior forward Cameron Smith (22), who is considered team captain and leader on and off the court. Cameron Smith also made it abundantly clear that “defense comes first” and that “defense wins championships.” He even spoke on how “70% of the game is about defense.”

Discussing their preparation, Smith emphasized that the team worked hard all spring and summer anticipating the new season. Smith revealed that the team trains 300 of the 365 days and that basketball is a way of life where each player puts in the work daily. Smith wrapped up the interview by restating that they are a tough team with defense at the focus but that they also have shooters who are going to look for as many chances to find the bottom of the net.

Both Reynolds and Smith expressed the huge impact of having the stands packed with fans and urged fans to come out and support. They asserted that a packed house makes everyone excited and pumped to play as they want to show out for the fans and win games in the process.

The ‘Runner’s first official game is slated for Nov. 7, at home against San Diego Christian, and the Big West conference play begins on Dec. 29, away against Riverside.