RIVERSIDE, Calif. - San Diego City, the defending state champions, will open the 2017-18 season as the California Community Colleges Men's Basketball Coaches Association as the preseason No. 1 ranked team in a vote of coaches throughout the state.
The Knights return four players from last year's team, but head coach Mitch Charlens welcomes two additional sophomores and eight freshmen. In all, San Diego City's roster sports 10 guards and three swingmen. Only one player is under 6-feet and six players stand 6-7.
Four of the six sophomores listed on the roster played last year, but only one — Wonder Smith started six or more games. Smith, 6-2, 180, out of Windward HS in Los Angeles, started 30 games for the Knights last season. He was one of two players on last year's team to average double figures (10.1 points per game). Two other returning players — Robert Taylor (6-3, 180, Moreno Valley HS/Moreno Valley, CA) and Robert McCoy (6-7, 185, Eisenhower HS/Chicago, IL) each played in every game last season, but made just nine starts combined. McCoy averaged 9.5 points 4.1 rebounds per contest and Taylor added 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. Each averaged over 16 minutes per game. Darius Lee also returns after averaging 2.8 points per game. In all, last year's team had six players average 7 points or more.
San Diego City picked up two San Diego Christian College transfers in Deion Davis and Luis Salgago. Davis played in 13 games last season as a freshman averaging 6 points per game. Salgago started in 17 games for the Hawks, averaging 7.4 points a contest.
It appears the Knights will rely on a deep bench in making a run at becoming just the fourth program to repeat as state champions (Long Beach City, Riverside (3 in a row), Rancho Santiago, now Santa Ana).
The Knights begin defense of their state championship against Los Angeles Harbor on November 3 in the opening round of the San Diego City Knights Invitational at 5 pm.
San Diego City will be hunted by two northern traditional powers in San Francisco, the north's top-rated team, and Fresno City, No. 3 in the preseason. In the south, after San Diego City, talk is high on San Bernardino Valley (No. 4), Saddleback (No. 5), Cerritos (No. 6), Fullerton, a state finalist last season, at No. 8, and Riverside City (No. 11). With first-year program Copper Mountain ranked No. 14 to open the season, the Orange Empire Conference has four ranked teams in the top 15.
Below are the state and regional preseason rankings. The California community college season begins November 1 and concludes with the state championship tournament at Ventura College, March 9-11.
|2017-18 CCCMBCA Preseason Poll||16-17|
|1. San Diego City||31-5|
|2. City College of San Francisco||29-3|
|3. Fresno City||23-7|
|4. San Bernardino Valley||23-8|
|7. Las Positas||22-8|
|11. Riverside City||23-9|
|12. Antelope Valley||22-11|
|13. Napa Valley||9-17|
|14. Copper Mountain||1st year|
|15. Santa Rosa||20-9|
|16. East Los Angeles||23-7|
|18. College of the Sequoias||12-16|
|20. Diablo Valley||20-10|
|1. City College of San Francisco||29-3|
|2. Fresno City||23-7|
|3. Las Positas||22-8|
|6. Napa Valley||9-17|
|7. Santa Rosa||20-9|
|9. College of the Sequoias||12-16|
|10. Diablo Valley||20-10|
|13. Feather River||26-4|
|14. San Jose City||12-14|
|15. San Joaquin Delta||16-12|
|Others: Reedley, West Hills, Cosumnes River, Sierra|
|1. San Diego City||31-5|
|2. San Bernardino Valley||23-8|
|6. Riverside City||23-9|
|7. Antelope Valley||22-11|
|8. Copper Mountain||1st year|
|9. East Los Angeles||23-7|
|11. Mt. San Jacinto||22-11|
|Others: Canyons, Southwestern, West LA, Allan Hancock, Irvine Valley, Victor Valley, Compton|