If finding tickets to see the Sacramento Kings is hard, then come see this year’s Yuba College men’s basketball team.
Coach Doug Cornelius has constructed a team that is destined for greatness. This year’s team is filled with size, athleticism and speed – all great attributes for the game of basketball. This team is similar to the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, where they have so many offensive weapons that defense may lack, but coach Cornelius is not worried.”I think with Rodney Hannah and Mark Schmidt blocking shots, I think we’ll be able to do a lot of different things on defense and be more aggressive,” said Cornelius.
Returning from last year’s astounding team are first-team picks Kenny Smith and Brett Ost. They will be the starting guards for the 49ers team. Smith was the go-to-guy on last year’s team, but with the added depth to this year’s squad, it should take some of the load off of his back.
Another returning player from last year’s squad is second-team pick, Matt Otten. Otten, a Yuba City High product, will be starting at the forward position. Helping Otten on the front line will be forward Malik Edwards and center Mark Schmidt. Edwards is a sophomore transferring from Sonoma State. Schmidt brings size with his 6-foot-9-inch frame.
Also new to this year’s 49er team is Marysville High standout guard Mychael Henry. Henry, most noted for his sweet jump shot and lightning fast quickness, will be the first guard off the bench for the 49ers. Henry spent four years on the varsity basketball team while attending Marysville High School.
Along with Henry, Lawrence Wright, the Wheatland High star, will be coming off the bench. Another player off the bench will be Rodney Hannah, a 6-foot-7-inch power forward.
So far this team has played well, but have also faltered at times. In the first event of the season at the Reno Shootout, the 49ers won their first two games to advance to the finals. They beat Merritt in embarrassing fashion, 106-88. Then they proceeded to beat Lassen 87-76. In the title game, the 49ers fell to Feather River by three points, where coach Cornelius said that his freshmen players made freshmen mistakes.In the Shasta Invitational, the 49ers lost their first two games and took an early exit. They gave Skyline all it could handle in the first game, but fell 68-65. In the second game, the 49ers lost to Lassen 81-71.
Last year’s team accomplished a lot by making it to the playoffs and gaining some needed experience, which can only help to make this year a success. The additions of some key players (Henry, Wright) that went far in their high school careers should build depth for this 49er team that is expecting good things this year.