Trevor Shickman knows that followers of the Santa Monica College men’s basketball team will remember the recently-concluded season for what might have been. Ranked No. 15 in the state and winners of eight of nine games at one time the team suffered major injuries, lost 10 consecutive games and finished 12-15 with no playoff berth. “People will remember this season for SMC losing close games,” admits Shickman. One example was a loss to conference champion Canyons after the Corsairs held a 20-point lead. However, Shickman wants people to know what handicaps the team faced. “We had Mike Woods, who is 6-foot, playing power forward after the injuries hit,’’ says the coach. “And he did a nice job. But, really, it was an amazing feat for the team to be so competitive. These guys deserve a lot of credit.” SMC’s season was turned around when center Kam-Ron Clay and forward LeBoise Gladden both suffered major leg injuries against College of the Desert. There aren’t many teams on any level who can afford to lose two of their best players in the same game and keep on winning. In addition, top reserves Derrick Williams and Jon Khalman were hampered by injuries. Williams finished the season but likely faces ankle surgery. Shickman became head coach following the retirement of John McMullen, who held the job 25 years and was immediately voted into the California Community College Hall of Fame. It was a part-time position and will be again next season. In order for Shickman to stay he’ll require other employment. He hopes to complete arrangements that would allow him to return. “I’m coming to work every day, recruiting and fund-raising,” he said. “I expect to be here. If I’m not, that will be something that happens later.” Looking back at the season Shickman says: “You always wish you could change a few things. But, really, there wasn’t much I would change. We beat five ranked teams. We were very successful early in the season.” The best player was 5-foot-9 point guard Jonathan Smith, who was voted first team all-conference and is considering Northern Arizona and University of San Diego among others in the current recruiting period. “When I became head coach I advised him to transfer because he had academic problems and he shot too much,” said Shickman. “He went to summer school and passed three tough classes. Then he changed his game and became a delight to coach.” Although SMC had 10 sophomores who won’t be back there is a solid nucleus for next season. Williams, Khalman and Andre Harris return, along with an outstanding contingent of redshirts. The group includes point guard Mark Brathwaite frrom Boston, 6-3 Marcus Allen, a transfer from Moorpark College, and Paul Frasier, a powerful 6-4 guard from Baltimore who dominated some practices this season. Ronald Eskridge, who played for the Corsairs two seasons ago, has another season of eligibility and may play.The group will be aided by recruits yet to commit. It is too soon for players from last season’s high school ranks to make their choices.
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