The Palomar College’s Men’s Basketball team has had a tough time adjusting to the departure of All-State center Joe Vas this season, but that still hasn’t deterred the team from its goal of winning the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) for a second straight season.
The Comets lost both of their games last week to Mt. San Jacinto (66-54), and a triple overtime heart-breaker to Grossmont (98-97), continuing their losing streak to four straight games.
The current season record now stands at 5-13 (0-3 in Conference). They have already lost more games this season than all of last season combined, where they finished 21- 10.
Sophomore guard, Aaron Roedl, who played on last season’s championship team, said the big problem right now is rebounding and defense.
“This team isn’t as big as last year’s team. We are more of a guard oriented team this year,” Associate Head Coach John Hotaling said.
This season the Comets are being out-rebounded in games by a margin of 37 to 30 and their opponents are shooting a staggering 46 percent from field, compared to the Knights 39 percent.
“The team really misses Joe (Vas),” said Head Coach John O’Neill.
“It’s not so much his rebounding and scoring that we miss, but his presence on defense.”
Vas, the 7-foot tall center, who transferred to the College of Idaho after last season, was last season’s PCAC player of year, averaging 16 points, 11.5 rebounds and leading California Community Colleges in blocks.
The Comets won 10 of their last 11 games before losing to Chaffey College in the third round of the playoffs last season.
This season’s Comets still believe in their ability to win the PCAC and go on a late season run.
“We can definitely win 10 out of 11, we got shooters and explosive offensive players and athletes. We still believe we can win conference,” Guard Marley Simmons said.
Despite the losing record, O’Neill said this is one of the most enjoyable teams he has ever coached.
“The guys are great, I haven’t had a single problem with a player all season.”