Fri., Mar 9th, 2012 El Cajon, Calif. --
One could say that the San Diego Christian College men’s basketball team’s upset of the GSAC champion, #4 rated Concordia Eagles on senior night was both a culmination and new beginning for the Hawks. The win wrapped up the first season of the Tim Cook era in grand style, but also built excitement and momentum moving into next season. The win was a conclusion to a season where Cook saw his squad drop 10 games by single digits, including seven in conference.
“The way the season ended with us beating the fourth ranked team in the country was a combination of a team that competed all season and learned how to win as the year progressed,” said Cook. “We needed to change the culture from one that accepted losing into one that was built on a foundation of winning.”
“I implemented a mentality that every day we fight for our program and play for God not ourselves. We proved that San Diego Christian is going to have a character driven, spiritual growing, and successful men’s basketball team.”
The Hawks’ season included five games against NCAA opponents, including Cal State Northridge, University of San Diego, UC Irvine, Grand Canyon University, San Diego State University, and nearly upsetting PAC 12 newcomer Utah 58-55 on November 14th.
Cook relishes the opportunity, stating, “Scheduling for everyone in basketball has always been very fickle. Some coaches like to play all cupcake games. Others, like me, embrace the rigors of a D1 schedule. Not only do the kids get to play at that level, but they exploit your weaknesses.”
“It's a great way to recruit and compete at a high level. It may be the single greatest way to get your program’s name out. When you are on the ESPN ticker 7-8 times a season and lose to a PAC 12 team like Utah 58-55, there are nothing but positives.“
The Hawks nine wins are the second most in a season since winning the GSAC title in 07-08. In addition, the five conference wins equal the best GSAC record since that conference championship year. The Hawks also qualified for the NCCAA West Regional and claimed the #3 seed in the West, but opted before the season to not participate in the NCCAA postseason.
Cook looks to build off of the success this season, despite losing seven seniors, including leading scorers Benji Arvizu (10.7 ppg), Johnny Del Bene (10.3 ppg), and Tim Sanders (8.7 ppg). Also, Del Bene was second in the nation in assist to turnover ratio from the point guard position.
“I am really excited to move forward with the recruiting process of 2012,” expressed Cook. “I have to replace seven seniors, who I absolutely loved. Right now, we are thriving as we signed our first five recruits early.”
“In addition, we have three very nice redshirts who will contribute right away at point guard, post, and wing. Next year gives me the opportunity to have every student-athlete be one of my recruits. That's very important when you have a system and you recruit players to that system.”
SDCC basketball looks to bring back the tradition of winning that has been absent in recent seasons. Cook feels that this was the start, stating, “We are building off of a very successful first season and I look forward to the challenges of molding and shaping this program into something that administration and fans can be proud of.”
“As our president and athletic director always say, ‘character is a bi-product of winning.’ We feel like that's our slogan as we move forward.”