Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Cañada College Colts in 2015-16

Cañada College basketball is coming off a remarkable 2014-15 24-7 finish alongside a Final Four appearance. Unexpected? Probably to most but not to Coach Mike Reynoso and his players.

Now a quartet of heavy-minutes players has moved on to four-year schools but a few sophomores who experienced the exhilarating ride of last season are back and eager for more. They are being joined by a bevy of freshman plus a D1 transfer.

So what will Reynoso and the Colts do for an encore since there won't be any 'sneaking up' on opponents? That question is obviously unanswerable at this point except for soothsayers and clairvoyants but the core elements of the Cañada hoops philosophy, plus preparation and effort have expectations remaining high.

"Each team has its own identity, with personalities and attitudes," Reynoso explained. "I try to get our guys to understand that past success has nothing to do with the current status. This team is not trying to be like last year's team, they have to define their own path and who they are as a team. Success determines how many coaches come to watch and coaches want guys from winning programs."

About not resting on any laurels, "intensity starts at the top and trickles down. I pride myself and our staff on that. I'm just an intense individual anyway."

So who does Reynoso bring in and what does he and his staff do with the raw material?

"Another part of success is having guys who have a motor, a competitive edge. I want guys who have fight in them. We can teach better skills, but you can't teach heart. Our Cañada program is dedicated to making guys better players - not just accepting that they will mature and be bigger and older and hope they will make it at the next level. I make sure our guys are prepared for the next level. We spend roughly 45 minutes every practice working on skills."

A key element is Reynoso's reward system, if you will. "Do your role and it will be increasing." A major component of this at Cañada is that, "I'm a proponent of versatility. Our bigs can handle the ball and our guards can post up. We take advantage of mismatches, our guys need to have an IQ."

Regarding his relationships with his players, "I treat every kid differently because each guy is in need of something different. Some guys have had a rough upbringings, and other guys come from affluent families. It's our job as coaches to bridge that gap and help all of these young men out. One of the things we do is take a team trip to find out about each other. It's to create a family and we take it very seriously. We'll bond as a team and with each other."

As the season opener fast approaches, Reynoso offered, "talent-wise we're there. We have a long way to go though, our freshman have to get tougher and used to the speed, and we need to learn how to be mentally tough as well."

He also preaches a different than what some might expect viewpoint: "our goal is reaching the potential of what we can do, not a goal of a state championship."

Reynoso closed with, "at the end of the day it's about getting an education paid for."

At the junior college level, so often it's not necessarily getting the players but developing them and then moving them on.

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