Friday, January 20, 2012

Las Positas is a TEAM

"All for one, one for all" is the life verse of Alexandre Dumas' creation, "The Three Musketeers." With Las Positas College basketball, the situation and setting are different but with the same theme: they are the Hawks and their chant is "All for 12, 12 for all" as fashioned by Coach Tony Costello.

After last season, Jordan Knox departed for Cal State Fullerton and 6-foot-10 Tim Thomas exited to Pacific, leaving Costello, in the minds of everyone, looking at a rebuilding year in 2011-12. There were no heralded names on the Hawks' roster.

So how and why is Las Positas 15-5 and the best story in Bay Area basketball?

Smoke and mirrors?

Celestial serendipity?

As is usual in these situations, it's actually a fusion of hard work, great attitude and the desire to succeed as a unit above all else.

Call it synergy, defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a common objective not independently obtainable.

It's the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Yes, call that Las Positas basketball this season.

Remember that old Dupont Corporation product tagline "better living through chemistry"?

That's also Hawks hoops in its current incarnation.

"We like kids who are hungry, who have something to prove," Costello said.
"Our team is a lot of local kids who are very unselfish and get along very well on and off the court."

But even his is surprised, at least to a degree.

"To be honest, I didn't expect this many wins this soon," Costello explained.

He added, "We have very good sophomore leadership in Roy [Rissas], DeMarr [Eagles], Dylan [Heath], who has been shouldering a lot of the scoring burden, Devonae [Leach] and Cedric [Young]. It's all about sophomores at this level."

His only returning starter is Heath, hence the surprise from outsiders at the tremendous success of the Hawks so far.

Another key element Costello stressed during the interview is "even our guys who don't get a lot of playing time, push the others."

Conference play has started and that means pairings with powerful opponents as the the Coast Conference North Division houses Ohlone College, Foothill College, Chabot College as well as City College of San Francisco, the returning state champion.

Costello is well aware of the competition.

"I tell our guys that they are good enough to win against anyone and to lose to anyone,"

Heath leads Las Positas at 14.5 points per game, with Jarred Jourdan next at 14.1. Leach holds down the third spot at 9.2 points per contest while Julian Redmon and Young are both at 9.1.

Young is the top boardman, followed by Heath, Leach and Jourdan.

Heath, Demarr Eagles and Johnnie Warlich are bunched together as the assists leaders.

Now some may say the Hawks are overachievers but that would be a misnomer. Each Las Positas player has invested, choosing to maximize his individual potential through collective action.

What the Hawks have achieved to date is a dream for coaches, players and fans. It's the Little Guy personified, carving out a path to success.

It's happening in Livermore.

The 2011-12 Las Positas roster

* 5-foot-10 Nick Armas, freshman, San Leandro High (injured right now)

* 5-foot-10 Damarr Eagles, sophomore, San Lorenzo High

* 5-foot-10 Jovante Evans, freshman, Granada High

* 6-foot-0 Jacob Contreras, freshman, Amador Valley High (grayshirting this season)

* 6-foot-3 Dylan Heath, sophomore, San Ramon High

* 6-foot-5 Jarred Jourdan, freshman, James Logan High
* 6-foot-4 Devonae Leach, sophomore, Skyline High

* 6-foot-3 Julian Redmon, freshman, Bishop O'Dowd High

* 6-foot-7 Roy Rissas, sophomore, San Ramon Valley High
* 6-foot-3 James Pugh, freshman, Dublin High

* 6-foot-1 Wayne Tucker, freshman, Oakland Tech High

* 5-foot-11 Johnnie Warlich, sophomore, Dublin High

* 6-foot-3 Cedric Young, sophomore, Livermore High

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