In his first year as head coach of the Cañada men’s basketball team, Mike Reynoso is trying to accomplish something very tricky — especially at the community college level.
A year after finishing with a No. 6 ranking in the state with a 20-6 record, the Colts went in the complete opposite direction last season, winning only five games and dropping 18 (11 of those in Coast Conference play).
So, at a level of basketball that is all about constant change, the Colts hired who they’re hoping will be the program’s constant for years to come. And with in mind, Reynoso has gone to work trying his hand at changing a culture in a program that is hoping last season’s dip was just a flash in the pan.
“I would say the new culture. Just bringing back toughness to Cañada. Bringing back a tough, blue-collar team. That’s what has me excited,” Reynoso said. “We’re not going to be an overly talented team. We’re going to have to be a team that battles night in and night out. We’re going to have to put on our work clothes and go to work. I’m excited that the culture is changing and the guys are starting to understand the work that it’s going to take to be successful.”
That change starts with almost a complete overhaul of the roster. Cañada’s roster has three sophomores. The rest are true or redshirt freshman in need of JC basketball seasoning.
“We needed to get guys that were going to work, who were going to understand the hard work that is needed and really dedicated guys — make sure guys are competitors.” Reynoso said. “I want competitors. Talented guys, those come and go. But in the long run, what’s going to win you games, especially at our level, is if you have competitors. And you can always develop players. But you can’t teach — nor should you spend time teaching in college — effort, hustle and hard work. And that I think is the main thing. Pushing yourself to the limit is basically the type of guy we need to get.”
By the sound of things, Cañada might have a couple of those players on its roster now. While Peninsula Athletic League fans will be familiar with a couple of names already, Reynoso pointed to the likes of Nick Martz (Mills) and Jason Garcia as key role players who might assume leadership positions on this young team.
Reynoso said the team has four or five guys capable of double-figure scoring and mentioned Marquis Glenn, one of his few returning sophomores, as a key component to the Cañada offense.
“I actually like it because there are four or five guys who are capable of scoring 11 a night, or 13 a night,” Reynoso said. “Nobody is going to come out and give us 20 a night. So, in that respect, it’s nice because we’re never going to miss a guy if he doesn’t play that much a certain night. That helps us be a fully capable team as a unit and not a team that relies on one guy.”
It then appears that the key to a winning season for the Colts will be their commitment to defense.
“We can’t rely on our offense on a night in, night out basis just because we don’t have flat-out scorers,” Reynoso said. “I don’t think a lot of the teams commit to defense because the game is changing offensively. I’m fully to the point where you need to have a tough, gritty defense to really win the tough battles.”
The Colts begin their season Thursday when they face Sacramento City College at the Jonathan Wallace MemorialTtournament in Fremont. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Cañada’s first home game is 5 p.m. Nov. 12 against Monterey Peninsula College.