By: Joshua Gerard Gargiulo
PHOENIX - The Bears’ annual appearance in the 2018 ACCAC Men’s Basketball Jamboree, saw them matched-up against Mesa Community College to kick off the season. In a thrilling showcase, Phoenix College defeated Mesa 74-71.
Twelve teams make the annual trek, to showcase this upcoming season’s talent. Officially, 5 Division I teams and 7 Division II teams within our Region I attend this “Jamboree,” in hopes of impressing one or multiple 4-year coaches/scouts.
Heading into this upcoming season, Phoenix College sees one major difference. At the helm, in new head coach, Duane Eason.
After a brief stint with coach Gordon’s staff, in spring 2016, and head coaching job at Mountain Pointe High School, leading the Pride to a 26-4 record. Duane Eason had mixed ideas on the event.
"It was for the players, and I’m always excited to give our players an opportunity for next level exposure," Coach Eason said. "However, as a coach, I also want to make sure we're doing things the right way."
Early on, it was back and forth as both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm.
Mesa took control going into halftime; and early on, into the second. However, about 10 minutes in, the Bears’ defense picked up its intensity; forcing several turnovers and missed shots on Mesa’s end. The Bears capitalized on these mistakes; and eventually put a strangle hold on the game, closing out a squeaker, 74-71.
"Anyone who knows me, knows pressure defense is a staple of my teams," Eason said. "It was good to see that, at the front of our comeback."
Coach Eason preaches “team” basketball. Often mentioning, anyone can have “a good shooting night,” but your defense can be “good” every night. In Practices, Coach Eason stresses full-court pressure; along with a constant need to “know where your man is.”
The Bears were led in scoring by sophomore guard Deron Kyle (18 points) and redshirt freshman Habib Arogundade (14 points). Leading the Bears’ in blocks was redshirt freshmen Ahmad Levon, grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds. Redshirt freshmen Tre Mitchell and sophomore Darius Goudeau both led the team with 3 assists.
For the Bears next open-scrimmage, they will host ACU JV Saturday, October 20, at the Bear's Den. Tickets are $3 for Adults; and $1 for Students with a valid Student ID. Kids under 5 are free-of-charge.