"So, just how excited is James Giacomazzi about the upcoming 2015-16 season?
"I'm overly excited," said Giacomazzi, LPC's new men's basketball coach. "I have to downshift myself at times."
With 6 players returning from last year's 16-win playoff team -- including honorable-mention all-conference selection McKayle Harnell -- and an influx of new talent, Giacomazzi has plenty to be excited about.
And his Hawks will show what that excitement is about Nov. 2 when they open the season with a 7 p.m. home game against the Simpson College JV team.
Although Giacomazzi is eager for the season to begin, he is also preaching patience. Along with two new assistant coaches, Jordan Whittenburg and Jonathan James, the head coach realizes that implementing a new system with new players will take some time.
"We have a great group of guys," said Giacomazzi, the head coach at Cosumnes River the previous 11 seasons. "Not only are they learning a new system, but we're also asking more than what they can already do. We have to go through our struggles, but when we do that and get past it, we'll be really good."
One area of concern is the lack of size on LPC's roster. The Hawks have only 1 player taller than 6-5.
"Teams will be bigger than us, probably," the coach said. "But I think we're athletic, strong, and quick enough to compensate. We'll just have to tweak our philosophy so our size becomes a benefit. We'll create mismatches."
The Hawks have also been hit a bit by injuries during the preseason. LPC participated in two jamborees -- the SoCal Juco Fall Jamboree in Norwalk and the ARC Juco Shootout in Sacramento -- and came away with groin injuries to Harnell and freshman Guard Kameron Johnson from Granada High. Sophomore forward Brandon Eboigbodin emerged with an injured ankle.
But Giacomazzi said all 3 players should be ready for the season-opener. Three days after that game against Simpson JV, the Hawks host the annual Tony Costello Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 5-7.
The rest of the nonconference season is highlighted by tournaments at Mendocino, Diablo Valley, and Skyline. After the Tip-Off Classic, LPC plays only 2 home games, Nov. 17 against Monterey Peninsula and Dec. 22 against West Valley, before the Coast Conference North Division season begins Jan. 6
Like any new coach building a program, Giacomazzi would love to see his team improve every day.
"What do they say? 'Rome was not built in a day,' " he said. "We're trying to get to Rome, but it might take a little time."
* Aaron Berry G FR 6-2 185 Brentwood/Heritage * Brandon Eboigbodin F SO 6-5 190 Redding/Shasta * Etienne Ettlinger G FR 6-0 175 Romanshorn, Switzerland/St. John's (B.C.) * McKayle Harnell F SO 6-4 210 Livermore/Livermore * Keith Hunter G FR 6-3 180 Oakland/Oakland * Kameron Johnson G FR 6-2 185 Livermore/Granada * Darius Limbrick G SO 6-3 180 San Leandro/San Leandro * Teran Massengill F FR 6-4 205 Bellflower/Pioneer * Nick Merrill F SO 6-5 200 Livermore/Livermore * Cameron Moses G SO 6-0 185 San Leandro/Dublin * Shaun Rodgers F FR 6-7 240 Antioch/Deer Valley * Ellis Salahuddin G FR 5-10 170 Inglewood/Westchester
* Giordi V'Soske G SO 6-1 180 Dublin/Dublin * Spencer Wood F FR 6-4 200 San Ramon/California * Nilo Yuson G FR 6-0 175 Lathrop/Lathrop