Stellar play leads to starting role
Going from the bench to the starting lineup is an aspiration for any athlete. Often an injury precipitates a move from the bench, but in the case of Keilan Horton, his standout play elevated him to starting status.
According to head coach Jerome Jenkins, the Santa Monica College men’s basketball team is strong and talented enough that anybody on the squad can start if needed.
“We have 17 guys on the roster, so I feel like we've got 17 starters,” Jenkins said. “Any of my guys can start at any time, and they know that.”
Horton, a freshman guard, is currently leading the team in scoring through five games at 19.8 points per contest. His status also places him as the second highest scorer in the Western State South Conference.
“Keilan is a big weapon for us,” Jenkins said. “He is an unbelievable scorer, he has a great scorer’s mentality and I like guys that can score.”
Horton explains that he watches other players, specifically NBA guards, as a means to improve his game.
“I used to watch Kobe [Bryant] all the time,” Horton said. “He really is my favorite player still.”
Horton explained that Kobe’s playing style is different than his own so he doesn’t take too much from Kobe’s game, although he admires him.
“As a guard, I try to implement other guards’ moves such as Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and guys like that,” Horton said. “I see myself as a Russell Westbrook type of player, because we are both explosive and can score the ball.”
Usually players who are aggressive get to the free throw line more than others, and Horton’s aggressiveness seems to have paid off as he has been to the charity stripe 32 times this season converting on 27 of his attempts.
“We just have to keep attacking the basket; we have to be the aggressor, because if we are the aggressor the referees eventually will show you some love,” Horton explained.
Horton’s ability to score seems to have put SMC in a good position for the season. They are currently on a two game winning streak, heading into their upcoming tournament.
The Corsairs will play host this weekend for a two-day tournament beginning this Friday, Dec. 7. Their first matchup will be against Rio Hondo College at 7 p.m.