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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Men’s basketball fights for future success

Coach Greg Clink
Head Coach Greg Clink holds the NCAA West Regional Trophy. Photo credit: Angelo Boscacci

The Chico State men’s basketball team season ended in Indianapolis at the Elite Eight.

A historic season for the program is in the past and plans for a repeat of success are already in the works.

The big-minute players last season will be a key component for next year, said head coach Greg Clink.

“Jordan Semple obviously will be a factor, along with Drew Kitchens, Mike Rosaroso and Jordan Barton,” Clink said.

For the team, it’s not only about being successful on the hardwood.

“Our philosophy is to always improve, and not just on the basketball court, but academically and our culture,” Clink said.

Recruiting isn’t just an offseason practice for Clink, but more of a daily grind.

“Right now we are trying to get guys in for visits and sign guys we have been recruiting for six to 12 months,” Clink said. “When you walk into this office and you see the trophy, it’s more to sell, and it legitimizes what we do.”

Teams work to connect with one another so individual players can grow in the offseason.

“It’s always a transition from being a junior to a senior,” Barton said. “In the offseason, it’s all about having the team come together and bond.”

Barton notices things about his game that he can improve.

“I work from 8 in the morning to 5 at night, and after that I get a workout and put shots in,” Barton said. “I work on my free throws and post moves.”

Other’s expectations don’t always carry a team.

“You can’t always let the expectations of others lead you to the game because it will always lead you to failure,” Barton said. “Coach talks about building off what we start and the Final Four is a hope. Years ago Chico could barely make the playoffs, and we’ve made it the past few years and we’re trying to build off every year.”

Jordan Semple, the returning first-team All Conference player, is coming off a stellar junior season and is the only starter returning next season. Semple averaged 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.

Being a senior also means becoming a leader for the younger players on the team, Semple said.

“I’m going to be the leader of the team,” he said. “It’s going to be my team. I need everyone on my team to give it their all and become better. Our team last year was the best team in school history. That’s the dream team.”

He knows building off the team’s recent success is a daunting task, Semple said.

“You can’t build off of it, that’s the worst part,” Semple said. “Everyone is back to zero and it’s whoever wants it more.”

A new season means a clean slate, he said.

“It’s a completely new season with new players and a few new coaches in the league,” Semple said. “It’s about making it to the West Regional, and once you get in there you have a good shot at competing with teams. Once you’re in the final eight, whoever has the better game wins. If you’re caught off-guard, people will beat you.”

One thing that isn’t going to be brand-new is the fight Chico State hopes to bring back.

“If we lose a few games we shouldn’t, we need to keep that fight,” Barton said. “Never give up.”

Angelo Boscacci can be reached at
[email protected] or @Boscacci6 on Twitter.

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