Corsairs ready for challenge

Corsairs look to overcome youth in upcoming season

Last season Santa Monica College men’s basketball head coach Jerome Jenkins was voted Western State Conference Coach of the Year after leading his basketball team to a conference championship and 20-8 overall record.

The team came up short of reaching their state championship goal, losing in the first round of the playoffs to L.A harbor 71-66.

This year Jenkins is looking at a young team only carrying one returning starter.

He is looking to replace guards Everett Brown, A.J Harris, and forward-center DeShawn Stephens who were first team all conference players last year.

Both Brown and Stephens earned scholarships at the next level, Brown to Cal State Dominguez hills and Stephens to San Diego state.

With the Corsairs lacking much experience, returning sophomore Lee Lark will be looked at to help lead the team as he is their lone starter from last year.

“He is one of the top 100 players,” Coach Jenkins said. “He will be huge.”

Last season Lark averaged 13.6 points per game and was one of the Corsairs leading scorers.

“I feel like we have a good group of returning sophomores that can help our freshman adjust to college basketball,” Lark said.

Returning sophomore Esvan Middleton will have to adjust to his new role on the floor, as he will be replacing Stephens.

Used mainly as a defensive presence last year, Middleton has worked hard in the off season to improve his offense.

Another addition to the offense will be freshman point guard Donte Bowie as he is replacing A.J Harris and will have to establish himself as the offensive facilitator.

Sophomore transfer Julian Wheeler will also get a chance to contribute early.

Wheeler is a versatile wing player, who fits well into Coach Jenkins run-and-gun style of offense.

“We think he is pretty big time,” Jenkins said.

“Every game is a big game for us,” sophomore guard Johnell Young said. “We want to win.”

Young played for Coach Jenkins two years ago, so he is familiar with his style of offense.

Lark and the Corsairs are ready for the challenge of defending their conference championship.

“All we need is a little bit of time, but in the end we will be straight,” Lark said.

The Corsairs begin their season hosting Cerritos College in a non-conference matchup up November 12.

“We have a big task ahead of us, but we are definitely up for the challenge,” Jenkins said about his young team and the upcoming season.