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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Men’s Basketball team has its sights set on conference title

Weightlifting, conditioning, bonding and reflection have been a handful of ways the SFSU men’s basketball team has prepared for their upcoming season
Colin Flynn
Coach Vince Inglima explains how to execute a drill during practice at the SFSU Gymnasium in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn/ Golden Gate Xpress)

All eyes were focused on the head coach, as he choreographed drills while making various audible callouts to change plays that were then echoed by every player. Sounds of sneakers screeching off the court –– accompanied by constant thuds of the ball being dribbled –– showed off the intensity that the team is playing at.

“Every single one [practice] has been filled with high, positive energy. They’ve been intense and we’ve been competing at a high level on a consistent basis,” said Alex Gilat, the team’s starting guard. “In my three years that I’ve prepared for a season at the college level, this year takes the cake.”

Coach Vince Inglima guarding Jonah Roth during a drill at the SFSU Gymnasium in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn / Golden Gate Xpress)

The San Francisco State University basketball team is looking to build off from their third-place conference finish and playoff appearance from last season. Both coaches and players have their sights set on one goal; winning the conference, something the program has only done once in the last 29 years.

Last season ended on a sour note with a 74-71 loss at the hands of Chico State –– a team they swept in the regular season –– in the first round of the playoffs.

The Gators started the 2022-2023 season 1-7 and last in the conference but ended the season winning 11 of their last 14 games.

Seventh-year head coach, Vince Inglima, said he was proud of the fight his team showed in turning last season around.

“I’m really proud of the mental fortitude it takes to make a change like that,” Inglima said. “To dig yourself out of that hole is fantastic to see. Hopefully, that provides us a good foundation and momentum coming into this season.”

Despite Inglima being proud of his team’s effort in turning their season around, he said that there can be a lot done to improve their game on both sides of the ball.

Inglima mentioned that the team was among the worst in the conference in terms of perimeter shooting which ranked bottom in both field goals and three-point shots made. He went on to say he’d like to see a more well-rounded squad this time out, emphasizing a ‘high level of defensive intensity and effectiveness.’

Inglima emphasized how proud he was of his team’s offseason preparation for the season.

“I’m really proud of the team, we came in great shape, physically strong and the best preseason we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Inglima said. “Building that cohesion with the team, really just trying to get the reps and get comfortable with each other. Developing that chemistry as much as possible and being prepared for Nov. 10.”

John Bakke watching and listening as coach Vince Inglima explains a drill at the SFSU Gymnasium in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2023.(Colin Flynn /Golden Gate Xpress)

The team will now have to cope with losing two second-team All-Conference selections, guard Jalen Flanagan and forward Eche Okeke.

Inglima said that despite losing key players, the team has only gained experience and is ready for the new season.

“I think what everyone took away from that [last season] was that we’re good,” Inglima said. “I think you can feel it amongst the team returners and the new guys that there’s a different expectation. We’ve been in that mental state where we’re expecting to go out, play and be successful.”

Among the returners to the men’s basketball team is senior Jonah Roth, an All-Conference selection last season who led the team in three-pointers made and blocks.

Roth’s season came to a heartbreaking end when he was kept out of the playoff game against Chico State due to a stress fracture in his leg.

Going into his final year of collegiate basketball, Ross said that for the team to make it back into the playoffs, they would have to collectively hit their stride much earlier than last season. That all starts with the intense practices, which Ross says the team has been enduring over the last two months.

“We’re starting to implement game planning, putting offense together and starting to play up and down the court,” Ross said. “As far as this year, we’ve started earlier as far as getting everything to click so I hope that translates to having a better record throughout the whole season.”

According to Ross, the team has been conditioning and practicing since the end of the first week of school. In the preseason, they’re practicing every weekday for four hours a day. The team’s practice schedule is subject to change once the season is underway.

Transfer forward Jailen Daniel-Dalton is playing in his first season with the Gators. Daniel-Dalton, who received All-State honorable mention honors at Gavilan College last season, explained the smooth transition being integrated into the team with the help of his coaches and teammates.

“It was one thing I didn’t have to worry about,” Daniel-Dalton said. “When I came here on a visit, it kind of felt like I was already part of the team. This is the fastest I’ve ever gotten close with a team.”

Daniel-Dalton said that he and all of his teammates wrote down their personal goals on the court and in the weight room to their coaches. He hopes to be an All-Conference player, while the team is fully bought in on bringing home a conference title to SFSU.

Parsa Hadjighasemi shooting free throws during practice at the SFSU Gymnasium in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn/ Golden Gate Xpress)

“We’re making sure we’re getting better every day, also holding ourselves to a higher standard,” Daniel-Dalton said. “The dynamic, culture and energy has all been different. I think we’re moving in the right direction and I think we’re going to do something big.”

The Gators will start their season on Nov. 10 at home against Dominican University at 7 p.m. Dating back to last season, the Gators have won six straight home games and hope to make it seven.

“We play Dominican, who have their four best players back, and they’re looking to take that next step,” Inglima said. “So I think it’d be a good test. We’ve been really good in this gym and we hope to keep that going.”

When he says they’re ready for the season to get going, Gilat is speaking on behalf of the whole team.

“We’ve been getting great reps and we’ve been doing extra work, taking care of our bodies and taking care of ourselves,” Gilat said. “I haven’t felt more prepared going into a season individually and collectively.”

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About the Contributors
Jason Hernandez
Jason Hernandez, A&E Editor
Jason Hernandez(he/him) is the arts and entertainment editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in education. He's lived in the Bay Area his whole life and currently lives near South San Francisco. During his free time, Jason enjoys watching sports, playing pool and thrift shopping. Once he graduates, he'd one day like to work for Vice News.
Colin Flynn
Colin Flynn, Photographer
Colin is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He was born and raised in San Diego but lives in San Francisco. Colin started shooting photos while skateboarding with his friends. He has also won a photograph contest hosted by Levi Jeans & The Berrics.

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