The Feather River College men’s basketball team is up and running and looking forward to a fantastic season. The Eagles won the Golden Valley Conference title last year and are aiming to do the same this season.
The team traveled to the Diablo Valley Tournament on Nov. 23 and beat Contra Costa College 50-42. The next day the Eagles squared off against Umpqua and lost 80-62. Forgoing rest, the Eagles traveled to Solano the next night and lost 70-64.
This is coach Randy Rick’s 13th year with the team. Rick built FRC’s basketball team up to dominate the conference. Since Rick took over the program, the Eagles have won the conference title five times.
“This year’s team is very tight with each other,” commented Rick. “All the players believe in each other. It’s like a brotherhood.”
Before the season started, Rick threw several barbecues and other team-building events. By the first game the Eagles had a strong knowledge of one another.
Before conference play, the Eagles have five tournaments scheduled. FRC finished three of these tournaments already. The Eagles faced some of the best teams in the nation. For example, Contra Costa won the Las Positas Tournament earlier in November.
Facing such tough opponents early on in the season is one of Rick’s strategies for the team. The adversity the Eagles face in the tournaments they play in is much more competitive than the teams in the conference.
FRC’s players reach a new level of skill and take that skill set to conference play.
“The exposure and tough competition the team gets is unreal,” said Rick. “As a basketball player, you play to play the best. In the long run when we get to conference play we will be more than prepared.”
Rick says the team’s aggressiveness and ability to catch loose balls are some of its strong points. In practice, the team has been focusing mainly on its defense.
The goal is to build the team up as the best team possible. Winning is a byproduct.
“Putting the players in roles that best bring out their strengths is the way to win games,” said Rick. “That and keeping the team together as a brotherhood are more important than anything.”
This year’s team has several key players that make the team something to reckon with. Four players return this year after winning the conference last year.
Andrew Lotts, last year’s MVP, returns to the court. Lotts was second in the state in scoring. Devin Crisosto got All-League and All-Defensive-Team last year. Carlos Velazquez is one of the best shooters in California. Similarly, Cody Gandolfo utilizes his toughness and shooting ability.
In addition to the returning players, the Eagles have several freshmen who look extremely promising.
With a team of players who are bursting with talent and a coach with the know-how of utilizing such talent, the Golden Eagles are set to have another spectacular season.