By Noel Sanchez, Nov. 8th, 2022
The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team enters this season with a winning culture and some new faces in the program. The Broncos recorded a positive record of 13-9 last year, making the NCAA Division II Championship tournament for the fourth straight season.
Head coach Greg Kamansky returns for his 22nd season with a fresh roster that is one of the youngest in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Kamansky was impressed by his young team in practice and mentioned chances for new faces to lead the program.
“I’m encouraged by the first part of the season, seeing their attitudes when working out and practicing,” said Kamansky. “With losing four starters last year, it means that this team will be on a journey. We’re still figuring out who the leaders are since we’re so young. There are opportunities every day to step into that role.”
One player Kamansky highlighted was sophomore Caleb Nelson who he expects to help guide the team.
Nelson is likely to start at forward this season as one of the few returning players. He scored eight points in CPP’s loss to Cal State San Bernardino which ended their NCAA tournament hopes and season.
Nelson said that he has already come a long way since the end of his first year with the team.
“Coming in as a freshman last year, I had a lot to learn,” said Nelson. “This offseason has allowed me to focus and play with the guys a lot more. I’m definitely more comfortable out there, and I’m finding good shots.”
Nelson also touched on goals that the team has this season both big and small.
“We are prioritizing winning our league, making it back to the tournament and getting better every game.” said Nelson.
Kamansky also said that another returning player, Chris Gayles, could step into a leadership role for the primarily young Broncos.
Gayles enters his third year with the Broncos and has weathered many obstacles with the team. He said that these obstacles have only made him stronger as a person and that this current group under Kamansky has limitless potential.
Gayles said that the team has come into the year focused in all areas of the game and looking to inspire one another.
“Whenever we bring energy and we’re active, I feel like we always perform better,” said Gayles. “This is especially on the defensive side, and we get deflections, steals and throw off the opposing team’s flow.”
The pandemic ended many players’ seasons early in 2020, including. CPP had just made it to the NCAA tournament and did not get a chance to compete with great talent.
After having the sport taken away from him then, Gayles has a deeper appreciation for the game and wants to make this season his best.
“During that time, a lot of people moved on to different things,” said Gayles. “But the people who really loved to do it stayed with it, and I’m just grateful to be back.”
CPP basketball kicks off their season on Nov. 11th with an away game at Azusa Pacific University. This game is a part of the Cougar Classic tournament where the Broncos will also play against Seattle Pacific University on Nov. 12th.
Those looking to attend a game at Kellogg Arena will not have to wait long as their first home game will be just a week later on Nov. 18th against Biola University.
“We do it the right way, we do it the ethical way.” said Kamansky. “I teach them to not take shortcuts, to put in the work and the results you seek will follow eventually.”
Stay up to date with the CPP basketball schedule and scores on the Bronco Athletics website. If you cannot make it to the games, they will be live streamed on the CCAA network.
Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics