A look into the next generation of Wildcat basketball leaders


Junior forward, Marvin Timothy throws down a dunk for the Wildcats. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

“The seniors are huge leaders on the team right now. They definitely built our foundation and are leaving a legacy with us. I think that’s huge and when they leave, we will continue to carry that legacy,” said freshman Brynn Thoming.

As Chico State’s beloved seniors finish off their final season of college basketball, the up and coming leaders are beginning to look toward next season.

“Next year I definitely want to be top in the conference in rebounding and scoring. I’ve always had the goal of averaging a double-double,” said junior forward McKena Barker.

Throughout this season, Barker has scored an average of almost 11 points and 6 rebounds per game, while achieving four double-doubles on the year.

Thinking about stepping into the leadership role, Barker said, “I think I will lead just by talking to the younger players and really focusing on communication while having the same goals. This year, we stuck together no matter if we won or lost and that really helped. Having that mentality will be really important next year.”

One of the most important things about starting a new season is integrating the incoming players. Freshman Malik Duffy knows exactly what it’s like coming into a brand new setting and coaching style and having to adapt to it. The transition can be difficult, which is why Duffy wants, “the younger guys to know that I’ll be there to help them and create a relationship with them like the seniors did with me, so they know that they can come to me if they need help.”

Sophomore Justin Briggs has had some experience starting and performing well this season. He believes stepping into a leadership position shouldn’t be too hard next season, “Since I know the system, I know how things are supposed to run and what we should be doing.”

Going into next season, both the men’s and women’s team will consist of many young players with just a sprinkle of older players in the mix.

“We’re having a group of four redshirts coming and a group of five freshmen right now who will be sophomores,” said Briggs.

Staying positive, Thoming said, “It’s always a little rocky when new players and new faces come in but I’m confident that we will get the swing of things next season.”

With these strong leaders on both teams, there is no doubt that next season will be nothing short of amazing for the Wildcats.

Courtney Chapman can be reached at [email protected] or @courtneychaps on Twitter.