After an injury-ridden season that featured an undersized lineup in conference play, most would view Trevor Shickman's first year as head coach of Santa Monica College's men's basketball team as a disappointment.
But for Shickman, who saw his squad finish 12-15 overall after starting the season 9-4 and defeat several ranked opponents, that isn't the case.
"We went down to the wire in every game despite injuries and ridiculous height disadvantage," said Shickman. From a coaching standpoint I'll always be really proud of the way these guys conducted themselves."
So far this off season, Shickman has locked up and signed three recruits to play next year for the Corsairs and hopefully improve the team's record and lead them to the playoffs.
But this year's recruiting features a hefty obstacle. Shickman has no returning starters from last year's squad and possibly only one returning player all together.
Perhaps two of Shickman's best players from last year signed Division 1 scholarships, with forward Cam-Ron Clay signing with Chicago State and guard Jonathan Smith signing with Cal State Northridge.
The other players from last year's team either finished their two years of playing eligibility at SMC or are transferring on to a four-year school.
But Shickman is confident with his recruiting class so far, starting with Ernie and Don Choi, twin brothers from Beverly Hills High School who started at point guard and shooting guard, respectively.
Shickman came across the 5'11'' twins while attending a Santa Monica High School game against Beverly Hills where he went to see a player from SAMOHI, but instead the Choi brothers caught his eye.
"I saw these two guys completely line SAMO up," said Shickman. "Don had about nine threes and Ernie had about 15 assists."
"They're both tough hard nosed players," added Shickman. 'They're good enough to get playing time and they're possibly good enough to beat everyone else out to start."
But despite the enthusiasm, Shickman made sure not to promise the twin brothers anything, citing his belief that it is harder for shorter Asian players to catch the eyes of scouts from Division 1 schools.
"Like I told them before I can't promise them anything except that they'll get better," said Shickman. "Also, one thing I did promise them is that they'll have to be better than everyone else because they're Asian."
"They're really good and didn't get any attention because they're under six feet tall and they're Asian," added Shickman. "I've decided I'm going to go recruit every single Asian basketball player I see because they all get under-recruited."
The third and final player that has signed with SMC is 6'8'' forward Akibu Dauda from Nigeria. Though Shickman admits he doesn't know as much as he'd like to about Dauda, he does believe he has many positive attributes.
"I've seen film on him and he has an NBA body, is coordinated and can shoot," said Shickman. "I have no idea of what he's gonna do in competition."
"At worst he's 6'8'' with a good body and with decent work ethic," added Shickman.
With only three players signed, Shickman must now keep an eye on the other players he's scouted and their situations and hope to load his squad with as many quality players as possible.