A new era of Cabrillo boy’s basketball has started this year with the arrival of alum and first-year coach Kyles Hawkins. He said that his time in the Moore League will help him get his team back into the top half of the local standings.
“I’m just trying to get the kids to believe,” Hawkins said. “They’re not used to structure, so that makes it difficult. But in the end, when they believe, it’ll look good.”
Hawkins has nine seniors on his 12-man roster, and is expecting leaders like seniors Marcus Price (pictured), Elijah Mcgee and Sirjohn Hardiman to emerge during the nonleague schedule that has the Jaguars playing five consecutive games at home.
“I think we’re going to be pretty solid because coach has really connected with us,” Price said. “It’s not just basketball. He’s making sure our grades are straight and that we’re good human beings.”
Hawkins graduated from Cabrillo in 2006, and was on the only team to beat Poly, but his wants this Jaguars team to play a completely different style than the one he played.
“We want organized chaos,” Hawkins said. “We have to take advantage of the natural athletes on this campus who are scrappy and want to get after it.”
Much like the famous VCU teams under coach Shacka Smart, Hawkins wants havoc to reign supreme. That means his team will press full court defensively, and rely a lot on creating space off of the dribble. Hawkins said he wants the up and down tempo to make offense easier for his inexperienced squad.
One of the most important and inexperienced players on the roster is junior Isaac Rodriguez. The 6’5” center didn’t play much last year, and is learning a new way to play under Hawkins. They have worked on everything from rebounding to running the floor in the active system. Rodriguez has been showing huge strides on defense, and had three blocks in a game last week.
Cabrillo plays league frontrunners Poly and Compton before the holiday break, but Price said he wants to play the big games early in the season.
“It will show us where we’re at as a team,” Price said.
“I really believe this can be great year for us,” Hawkins said. “We can go into league with a chip on our shoulder is we learn to not drop heads after one possession. We need to knowing that we’re not perfect. We’re not a loser, we’re just a learner.”