Usually with this much change, it means a program is in turmoil.
Hardly so for the Peninsula Pirate men’s basketball squad.
The Pirates have their third head coach in five seasons in Mitch Freeman. Most recently an assistant at California Polytechnic State University — he is trying to keep the Pirates on course. After an 0-2 finish at the tourney under then head coach Peter Stewart in 2009-2010, the Pirates won the title the next season under Lance Von Vogt. The Pirates followed that up with a fourth place finish in 2011-2012 and a 1-2 at the conference finals under Von Vogt last season.
Freeman said his approach is making sure his team works on getting better every day and that success will generally follow.
“Every coach, every player wants to win, but I think winning happens when you do everything else well (like) working hard and competing, working in the classroom staying eligible,” he said. “Our expectations are do it the right way, to compete, to play for one another. If we do those things, we’re going to be happy with the results. Absolutely, we want to win championships, but we want to be taking it one day, one game at a time.”
As happens with collegiate coaching changes, a number of players that Von Vogt recruited have changed plans and Freeman heads into the season with an almost completely revamped lineup compared to the 2012-2013 Pirates.
“We’re young — we have lot freshmen, a lot of transfers who have only been playing maybe a year of college basketball,” Freeman said. “(The goal early on) has been trying to bring guys together, get them to understand how to compete at a college level.”
One key sophomore that’s back is Xavier Bazile, a Tacoma native who averaged 18.7 points (10th in the conference) and 5.6 rebounds in 23 games last season at P.C.
Also back is role player Domach Domach and red-shirt sophomore T.J. McKinney. Domach played just 43 total minutes in eight games while McKinney red-shirted the campaign.
Freeman’s top recruits include Kyshawn Erwin, a 6-foot 6-inch freshman power forward, Daren Hechanova, a 6-foot 2-inch sophomore guard who played one year at Saddleback Junior College in Orange County, and Erron Shamlin, a 5-foot 11-inch sophomore guard who was recruited to play for Texas Southern University in 2012-2013 but decided to transfer.
“Kyshawn … he’ll be a joy to watch. He’s long, athletic, energized, runs the floor really well,” Freeman said. “Daren … is really athletic, strong, can get to the basket and is a very versatile player. Erron is a true point guard. He can handle the basketball, is a good athlete and has a respectable jump shot.”
The new recruits help make up for the loss of key players Djuan Smith, Treshawn King-Dunbar and Salim Gloyd from last year’s squad.
Freeman worked under head coach Joe Callero at Seattle University from 2005-2009 and then followed his mentor to California Polytechnic State University until being hired to replace Von Vogt.
During his stint at Cal Poly, Freeman helped construct one of the top defenses in NCAA Division I basketball. Under Freeman’s guidance during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, Cal Poly twice ranked among the top 25 defensive programs in the nation.
This season’s Pirates, Freeman said, are going to be a bit quicker than programs he’s been a part of in recent years.
“We’re going to demand a lot on the defensive end and a little more freedom on the offensive end,” Freeman said. “We hope to be a tough team both offensively and defensively … (and) create a tough environment at home.”
No stranger to the Northwest, Freeman spent three years teaching in both the Seattle and Marysville school districts.
“Mitch is a great fit for us,” Rick Ross, Peninsula College Director of Athletics said. “His roots are in the Northwest, he has the preparation and experience to win NWAACC championships, he has the values and ethics to do it the right way, and to produce a quality product that this college and this community can be proud of.”
The Pirates filled their preseason schedule with a game against the Seattle Mountaineers on Nov. 9, an intra-squad scrimmage on Nov. 16 and another scrimmage on Nov. 23 before their first NWAACC action on Nov. 26 against Clark College (results of the Clark game were not available at press time).
Peninsula hosts the Pirate Classic Dec. 7-8, taking on Northwest Indian College on Dec. 7 and Grays Harbor College on Dec. 8.
The Pirates are at the Tacoma Crossover Tournament Dec. 2022 and Big Bend Tournament in Oregon on Dec. 27-29 before opening NWAACC conference play Jan. 4 at Whatcom.
Game times for P.C. men’s home games are 7 p.m. following the women’s games that tip off at 5:30 p.m.
2013-14 PIRATE MEN’S BASKETBALL ROSTER
NO. NAME HT YR POS Hometown
0 Xavier Bazile 6-4 SO G/F Tacoma, WA
1 Erron Shamlin 6-1 SO G Houston, TX
2 Geno Horsley 5-11 FR G Tacoma, WA
3 Tyler McKinney 6-3 SO G Anchorage, AK
5 Juwan Flowers 6-1 FR G Seattle, WA
10 Johntrel Lee 6-2 SO G Tacoma, WA
12 Ryan Johnson 6-0 FR G Las Vegas, NV
14 Markus Rawls 6-2 FR G Federal Way, WA
15 Branden Charbonier 6-4 FR F Chino Hills, CA
20 Terrell Penney 5-11 FR G Portland, OR
21 Jal Deng 6-3 SO G/F Fort Worth, TX
22 Daren Hechanova 6-3 SO G Gardena, CA
33 Domach Domach 6-3 SO G Kennewick, WA
44 KyShawn Erwin 6-7 FR P/F San Bernardino, CA
RS Glen Jackson 5-11 FR G Federal Way, WA
RS Collin Williamson 6-3 FR F Friday Harbor, WA
Head Coach: Mitch Freeman. Assistant Coaches: Jon Ing, Fred Harrison