By Bryan Stauffer
Behind another solid performance Friday night against CCAA rival Cal State San Bernardino, redshirt-freshman Barry Bell assured the future looks bright for the Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team.
Bell put together a great all-around performance against the Coyotes as he recorded 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and proved to be a valuable asset on the defensive front once again for the Broncos.
The 6-foot-2-inch guard said he certainly still has a lot to learn and adapt to at the college level, but he is happy with where he is at.
“I’m just taking my learning experience day-by-day,” said Bell. “[I’m] trying to get better as the days go on, so that one day I can be the main guy to go to at the end of the game.”
Through 20 games this season, Bell has racked up 19 starts, which leads all underclassmen on the team and ranks second only to senior guard Mitchel Anderson.
The Oakland native said having started all but one game in his inaugural season is impressive, but the idea of starting is not something he focuses on.
“It doesn’t really matter to me if I start or not,” said Bell. “I just want to come out and help my team win. I think anybody can start on our team.”
Although this is not his first year in college, this is Bell’s first year playing on the hardwood at a collegiate level. Unlike typical freshman, his transition from high school to college has been smoother than most.
“It has been a transition as far as the speed of the game, the level of physicality, which I like, and just the smartness of the game,” said Bell. “That’s really it, its still basketball.”
Under the leadership and guidance of proven veterans such as Anderson, DeRonn Scott and Terrence Drisdom, the junior sociology student has thrived in the early going of his career.
“I think I’m getting valuable experience from playing with the older guys,” said Bell. “When its my time to come, I’ll be the same way they are if I have a younger player on the team. I want to help them out and give them encouraging words so they can keep on going.”
With experience comes confidence and Bell’s confidence is sky high after getting his feet wet so early in his collegiate career.
According to head coach Greg Kamansky, a big part of his success thus far can be attributed to his dynamic defensive presence, which Kamansky calls his “bread and butter.”
“He’s one of our top defenders and he really gives us a presence on the perimeter defensively,” said Kamansky. “That’s been huge for us. We’re the number one team in the country defensively and he’s one of the anchors of that.”
Kamansky is hoping Bell can build off his strong defensive presence and develop a sound offensive game as he matures and gains valuable minutes in the early stages of his career.
“His ball-handling has gotten better, his drives to the basket have gotten better and if he works on his shot, and continues working on his ball handling and decision making, then he’s a prototypical big physical guard for us,” said Kamansky.
Junior teammate Connor Gacek said based on what he has seen from Bell in his first year, he thinks he will have a great career at CPP.
“He’s one of our leaders on the floor,” said Gacek. “He doesn’t back down from a challenge and it’s impressive since it’s his first year at this level. He’s only going to get better.”
In Bell, CPP has a young, athletic leader who is only going to get better.
What more could the Broncos ask for?
Laura Mishima/The Poly Post
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