SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Salt Lake Community College Bruins are headed to Hutchinson, Kansas next week for the national junior college championship tournament.
The Bruins will be going for their second national title in three years, and they’re excited about the chance.
“As excited as you can be.,” said forward Alec Monson. “This is what coach has been talking about all year long, and hat we’ve been dreaming about since summer, so that’s been our goal and we’re going to be ready to play next week.”
“A big key has been everybody wanting the same goal, and that’s to win the national title,” said center Kur Kuath.
The Bruins know how to win. They’re 30-3 this year, and their half court game will help in the tournament.
“In the post season, everyone is a little nervous, everyone is trying to do everything right, and I think because we work on that all year long, by the time the post season comes, we’re used to playing that style of basketball that we can play in the half court,” said head coach Todd Phillips. “But we averaged 88 points per game this year, so we get out and run at times. The other big thing that happens at that tournament is that you either punch somebody in the face or they punch you, and then its overcoming that. For us, two years ago, we hit everybody pretty hard, then it was just trying to hold onto that lead.”
Phillips has built a dynasty here, because he knows the formula for success.
“The big thing with junior college is that there is a lot of turnover, ” Phillips sadi. “So bringing in new kids every year, and one thing at SLCC is we’ve done a nice job of bringing in the right mix of kids.”
And he gets those kids to buy in to the program.
“We’ve always believed, ” said Monson. “You have to have a goal and really think its possible and we’ve chosen to be confident and play that way and its here and we’re ready.”
“We just need to keep playing how we’ve been playing these past few months,” added Kuath. “Just stay together and keep fighting and we can get this national title for sure.”
Six players from the 2016 championship team went on to play Division 1 basketball, including Tyler Rawson at Utah.
Eight or even nine players could be going Division 1 this year, including Kuath, who is headed to Oklahoma.