Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Bench players keep Wildcat basketball on point

Bench players
The basketball bench players lock arms during the last few seconds of the game.Photo credit: Yoselin Calderon

The unsung ‘Cats of the Chico State men’s basketball team are bringing the roar to opponents, one substitution at a time.

The Wildcats are currently 11-3 overall and currently sit in fourth place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Div. II standings. A key success of the ‘Cats winning formula has been its 10-man rotation and energy-filled bench. The enthusiasm of the Wildcats bench helps the starters push for excellence, as well as rallies the crowd for full support.

Junior forward Jordan Semple is having a career year off the bench, averaging 11.9 points per game while pulling in 8.2 rebounds per game.

“Our bench has been great this year with its intensity on defense, and I like the role of being the sixth man,” Semple said.

Head coach Greg Clink said Semple’s productivity matches the starters and has respectively bought into his role off the bench.

When bench players come into the game they must know their role and try not to play out their game, Clink said.

“Mike Rosaroso, Drew Kitchens, Nate Appel and Chris Magalotti have built a healthy competition between our starters and have learned to execute well in games,” Clink said.

It’s the little things that bench players excel at that help the team come away with victories, whether it’s loose balls, rebounds, steals or blocks.

“When I come into the game I try to be poised and set up my players and become the floor general and stick to my role,” Rosaroso said.

The ‘Cats have built a machine that is firing on all cylinders this season. The bench’s strong play keeps the starters’ minutes down and helps rest them, preventing injuries for the whole season.

“When I come off the bench I focus on defense and rebounding and bringing energy to the game,” Kitchens said.

With the elusive weapons and depth the Wildcats have this year, we may see a repeat of the 2011-12 team that was the CCAA men’s basketball champions and earned a berth into the NCAA championship tournament.

Benjamin Marquez can be reached at [email protected] or @bmarq2424 on Twitter.

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