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Martin Gallegos

The Las Positas College men’s basketball team underwent a complete renovation over this past offseason.

A grand total of one player from last season is returning to the team. The rest of the roster is comprised of freshmen and one other sophomore.

In his second year as head coach of the Hawks, Lon Rork appears to be in quite the predicament with all these new players. While it is tough to establish chemistry with a group of athletes that have never played with each other, Rork is working hard to set the team up for success.

“I had to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Rork said. “Once you establish that trust, then you can get them to buy into the system.”

Rork’s system heavily emphasizes having a solid defense. He wants the team to hustle for every loose ball and battle for every rebound.

Also wanting to utilize the strengths of the team, Rork will look to take advantage of the shooters on the team. One intriguing name to watch is Marti Fonolla.

Hailing from Spain, the 18-year-old Fonolla played in the Euroleague for Badalona. His team won the Nike International Junior Tournament championship and he was known for being a good shooter with range.

The season begins with the newly renamed Tony Costello Memorial Tournament, which takes place at Tony Costello Court here at LPC on Nov. 6-8.

The first round opponent for the Hawks is a Nov. 6 matchup with Gavilan College. The other teams involved in the tournament are Diablo Valley, Columbia, Contra Costa, Butte, Siskiyous and Sacramento City College.

Considering their No. 12 ranking in the Junior College Coaches’ Poll for the North, Butte College should be considered the favorite to win the tournament. As an underdog, LPC will not back down from the challenge.

“You have to take it one day at a time,” Rork said. “Anything can happen.”

With a team of nothing but new faces, the Hawks are flying under the radar in all the preseason rankings.

“As the season goes on we will improve both on and off the court,” Rork said. “I’m here to help these players grow.”

The men missed out on the playoffs last season. Starting the season off on a good note with a strong showing in the tournament would certainly help in their quest to get back to the postseason.

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