BY ANTHONY MENDOLIA
Photo courtesy of COD Athletics.
When the COD men’s basketball team returns to the court this fall, they will do so with a new lead man at the helm. Trent Skinner is the team’s new head coach, returning to his alma mater after a successful nine-year stint with Mt. San Jacinto College.
His players are very excited to have him as a fresh voice on the sideline, and it’s already shown in preseason practices. “Our practices are a lot more structured,” sophomore guard Gunnar Mogolis (PDHS) said. “Coach Skinner is a very good practice planner, he seems like he knows college basketball really well.”
Freshman forward Robert Ayala (DMHS) also had nothing but positive things to say about his new coach. “I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve never really had a coach who’s stopped and helped me explain plays and stuff like that,” Ayala said.
With these well-structured practices, the team has definitely responded with a strong will to play, something not lost at all by the new head coach. “Every practice they come in 110 percent, every play and every drill. They come in with that intensity every day, and to me being competitive is the most important thing that we need to stress around here,” Skinner said.
Skinner is definitely looking to change the culture of his Roadrunner basketball program in his first year on the job, something that needs to be done after finishing last in the PCAC North Division each of the past two seasons. And to Skinner, the culture change must go on and off the court as well.
“For us it’s being competitive, and doing it the right way…going to class, getting the community involved for us, and seeing what we can do and what we can build this program to be in the future,” said Skinner.
Even with the team in rebuild mode, the program’s current crop of players have no shortage of confidence and feel that they may be able to surprise some people this year.
“I think we have a very talented team, and I think Skinner is a very good coach. So I think we can have a lot more success than what we’ve recently had,” said freshman guard Riley Welch from Littleton, Colo.
Mogalis agreed with his teammate’s sentiment, “I really think we can make the playoffs, we have a solid squad this year,” said Mogalis.
The Roadrunners play their first game of the season on Thursday, Nov. 1 against Grossmont, with Skinner optimistic about coaching his first game at his alma mater.