Coyotes get set for basketball doubleheader

The Cal State San Bernardino basketball teams each have one more test before they swing back into CCAA play and those will come Tuesday night as the men host Vanguard at 7:30 p.m. The women’s game against St. Martin’s (Wash.) will kick things off at 5:30 p.m.

The Coyotes now have their entire team eligible and they need a good, steady effort to take some momentum into the break.

This team plays hard. It hustles from start to finish. Players dive for loose balls, crash the boards for rebounds. Play isn’t always pretty or perfectly executed but these young men seem to work well as a team instead of as individual players with their own agendas. That will go a long way.

That has made the first couple of months all the more enjoyable for coach Jeff Oliver and associate head coach Paul Trevor. Last year was the polar opposite.

Point guard Corey Gaston is every bit as exciting as teammate Bryan LeDuc made him out to be even before the first game started. He was a little erratic in his first game but he had to be a little nervous. He will be better this time around.

LeDuc has been stellar, ranking in the top 10 in the CCAA in scoring rebounding and free-throw shooting.

The Coyotes have all the parts to make a run similar to the one made by local rival Cal Poly Pomona last spring. Only time will tell though.



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Panthers’ Rover headed to Idaho State

Former Eisenhower High School and Chaffey College football standout Jahmel Rover has already overcome a lot of obstacles in his football career. That makes him even more excited about the next step – Idaho State.

He signed with that school last week when me made his visit.

Rover planned on going to San Jose State out of high school but the paperwork got fouled up and he never played there. He had to wait out the year before enrolling at Chaffey to play what turned out to be his freshman season. He averaged 104 yards a game, ranking him ninth in the state.

He missed one game after suffering a severe dehydration episode after a game that resulted in him spending four days in a hospital. It was later diagnosed as a muscle disorder that mimics cramping symptoms.

Then last year he sustained a season ending knee injury before the first game. I went out to interview him for an in-depth feature to kick off the season but it never got written because he was out for the year.

Then last year his numbers took a dive because of the revolving door at quarterback which resulted in a dysfunctional offense.

A lot of athletes that go through that much turn out bitter, especially if they had hopes of playing Division I football somewhere and now are relegated to what might be looked at as a lower tier school.

But Rover just wants the opporunity to play. He has already completed his two-year degree so he will be heading to Idaho in January which makes him eligible to compete in spring practice.

He credits family support for getting him through the tough times, hopefully all of which are behind him now.  He plans to major in nursing, taking after his mother who also works in that profession.

He is a quality young man and deserves nothing but the best!


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Smart gets official head job at Cal State Los Angeles

Former Cal Poly Pomona assistant volleyball coach Randi Smart has had the interim label lifted from her title as head coach at Cal State Los Angeles.

Smart, who led the Eagles to a berth in the West Region final opposite Cal State San Bernardino, was named the interim coach in February following the resignation of long-time coach Bill Lawler. She led a young squad with only two seniors to a 23-9 overall record and to a third-place finish in the competitive CCAA.

Cal State Los Angeles finished the year ranked No. 15 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

Smart came to Cal State Los Angeles after serving as an assistant to Rosie Wegrich for four years.

 Smart also was an assistant coach at the University of La Verne for six seasons, the highlight of her tenure there coming in 2001 when the Leopards won their third national championship.

She becomes the fifth head coach in Cal State L.A. women’s volleyball history.

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