Fourth-year Porterville College men's basketball head coach Rob Haynes is having to deal with something he's never experienced before. For the first time during his coaching career, Haynes will open the season with no returners from his previous team. It's a challenge that he and his 2016-17 Pirates are up for.
"I'm a firm believer in experience and over the past three seasons we've had it." said Haynes of his Pirates squads. "But the team this year is a young, but mature group. They're a bunch of really hard-working guys that don't complain about anything that's asked of them. We've had good camaraderie thus far, so as a coaching staff, that's all we can ask of them."
Despite having a roster of all freshmen, Haynes will look to 6-4 point guard Malik McCowan out of Valencia High School, 6-5 forward Arthur Price from Eldorado High School in Las Vegas, and 6-2 shooting guard Carlos Angel of Milton-Freewater, OR to lead the Pirates this season. But he knows he'll need everyone to contribute to be successful.
"Every last one of these guys on the roster will play a part in some form or fashion," said Haynes. "They just have to be ready when called upon."
Porterville's freshmen will need to be ready in a hurry with the season getting underway on Thursday, November 3. The Pirates will be on the road to start, competing at five tournaments before beginning Central Valley Conference play. Porterville opens at the San Jose City College tournament and will compete in tourneys at Victor Valley, Bakersfield, Skyline, and Compton before its conference opener on January 4 at West Hills Coalinga College.
Porterville will finally make its home debut on January 7, hosting Reedley College at 5 p.m. Rival games for the Pirates include Jan. 14 at College of the Sequoias, Jan. 21 at Fresno City College, and home games against COS on February 8, and FCC on Feb. 15. Porterville closes the regular season at Merced College on Feb. 18. All PC men's games are scheduled for 5 p.m. followed by the women at 7 p.m.
"The Central Valley Conference is going to very competitive as always," said Haynes. "We had the top four teams make it to the playoffs from our conference last season with us finishing tied for fourth place. I see the teams that made it to the playoffs last year all competing again for a conference championship with Fresno City leading the way. West Hills, COS, and Columbia are all teams that have improved as well us, Reedley, Merced and newcomer to the conference, Cerro Coso. So it should be a really interesting and fun season."
The Pirates will look to improve on their 10-16 overall record from last season. With a 6-6 CVC record, Porterville shared fourth place with Columbia in the final conference standings. Looking to this year, Haynes doesn't have a specific number of wins as a goal but just wants his young team to play well and continue to improve.
"Our goal this year is to get better each game and to grow as a unit," Haynes said. "It's vital to understand that the season is not a sprint, it's a marathon, so there's going to be a lot of growing pains throughout. When you have a young group, attitude and patience is going to be the common theme throughout the long season.
"It will interesting to see how these guys respond to adversity once it comes staring them in the face. I'm looking forward to it because I think they will embrace the challenge."
2016-17 Porterville College Pirates Men's Basketball Schedule | Roster