The Central California Athletic League is expected to be very competitive for boys basketball, and the Pitman Pride squad will make things even more interesting when league play kicks off.
Pitman graduated nearly half a dozen players from last year’s squad — including current pro basketball player Dom Von Waaden — but it doesn’t diminish head coach Harvey Marable’s’ optimistic expectations heading into 2018-19.
The Pride will rely on the returners they do have and a talented group of newcomers. This includes Josiah Frank, Dylan Anderson, Gundeep Hayer and Navjit Bath.
“I loved last year because we had a lot of varsity players with experience who were returning, and Dom who played four years,” said Marable. “Compared to this year, we have three players with a bit of varsity of experience. But the other guys were major contributors when they were juniors so they know what to expect, and now the roles have changed.”
The Pride graduated five seniors from last year’s squad that went 18-9, but they also bring back five that includes sophomore Frank and junior Anderson.
Pitman went 6-6 in their final year competing in the CCC after the second-best start in program history.
They kicked off the year with an 8-1 record after their first nine games played. Unfortunately, they went 9-8 for the remainder of the year, including a .500 league record that put them in fourth place in the CCC, missing the playoffs by one game. Redemption is a goal for this year.
“This is basketball, so they will come out ready to win, but it is a different style than what we have seen in the past in the CCC as far as Golden Valley, Merced, Atwater, El Capitan, all pressure oriented,” said Marable. “But nothing to take away from the Modesto schools, just different styles.”
It’s now a new year and the CCAL title is up for grabs—and Pitman wants a piece.
“I would like to be in the mix for the CCAL title, but it will be important to put it together,” said Marable. “Not just a first half, but a second half of the season and being young it is just one of those things we have to work on. The kids wrote some goals down, and one was making the playoffs, another was communicating and get along, and to win a league title. Recognize, anticipate, relax and communicate: This is high on our list.”
Pitman will next host Sonora at 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 4.