The Yuba College men’s basketball team has had a killer season. They kicked it off with a win against Fresno, who are ranked fourth in California community colleges. They are 9-0 in conference, and are ranked sixteen out of all California community college teams. After a win Wednesday February 2nd against Mendocino, they are the only team left undefeated in the Bay Valley Conference.
The team members are all talented and motivated. “They are all focused. They all want to win, which helps,” says head coach Doug Cornelius. Sophomores have returned with more experience, and freshmen have come in ready to give their all. Garrett “Big G” Ellwood says they have, “a lot more talent than last year, and a bit more experience as well.”
Guard Julian Welch, who leads the team in points, is ranked second in the BVC in points per game, averaging about 19.
Jhonte Simpson, who is in his first season with the 49ers, is confident in his team’s ability. “We’ve got some real good guards that can shoot… I don’t think there’s any part of our game that can be stopped.”
Vital to their performance on the court is the camaraderie that the team shares. Ellwood points out, “Our motto is family, so that’s the biggest thing.” This can be seen during games, as they work together to win, rather than trying to be individually successful.
“There’s good chemistry there,” Cornelius agrees.
The chemistry doesn’t stop amongst the players, though. They also bond wonderfully with their coach. Spencer Butterfield, the only starting freshman this season, says Cornelius is, “Very supportive. He gives us time off when we need it, pushes us when we need it.” Michael Arnaoutis, newcomer from Greece, also had nothing but good to say of his coach.
Armed with unity, drive, talent, and a good record, we can only expect the 49ers to end this season well. The guys are staying focused and are maintaining the momentum that has gotten them this far. Coach Cornelius says, “We have to win at least two out of the next three to guarantee us a league championship.” Once they pass that milestone, the team will keep looking ahead. Butterfield aims to be, “hopefully state champs, I mean, that’s the goal.”
Congratulations to the 49ers for their success so far, and good luck as they continue to shine for Yuba College!