How do you play your best when you're also preparing for the worst?
The answer may be found at San Jacinto College where the men's basketball team is being cut after next season due to financial reasons.
"A lot of people ask, 'What if we win back-to-back national championship would they change their mind?'" said head coach Scott Gernander.
"I don't think so. I think the decisions been made."
Yet Gernander and his San Jac team (27-1) have managed to win every game so far but one and is ranked fourth in the nation in the latest junior college poll.
"Its been a motivation (factor)," said sophomore forward Elton Dyer of the school's decision.
Gernander believed his team could be one of the best in the country. Aside from talent, it's the team's attitude which has carried it through this difficult situation.
"When it originally happened we had some discussion with our team," he said. "They're might be a couple guys you could talk to now who might say they're using it as motivation because they feel like that's the card they have to play but, honestly, we haven't brought it up again."
Indeed, watch this group practice and you'd never know these doors will soon be closing for good.
The focus now is adding another championship banner; not the writing on the wall.
"Its difficult for everyone to see an outstanding program go," said Dr. Allatia Harris, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at San Jacinto College.
She reiterates the College's position: the decision to phase out the program, along with three other teams -- is not about performance, but rather economics. "The operating costs are high; we're looking at our facilities," Harris added. "This gym is 50 years old; and the long term decision was tied to facilities and then the on-going expenses."
In the short term, though, these resilient ravens will play the rest of the season like any other season. breaking their huddles, together.
"Before we break up we either say 'win' or 'family' so we just end it with 'family,' that's just our motto," said Dyer. Good 'ole 'family.'"
And family is most important, right?
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