Basketball starts season with slam dunk


Steven Rissotto ’20

The Riordan varsity basketball team warms up for the new season.

Cameron Bevan-Abel ’22, Sports Editor

The Riordan Varsity basketball team is possibly the best it has ever been and expectations are to get deep into the playoffs, and hopefully get back to the promised land.

“The expectations are sky high. The frank truth in it all is that you put together a team like we have at our school, the expectations are going to be extremely high and it’s very obvious for me by being around this program and that’s how we want it, we want expectations,” Athletic Director Bob Greene said.

He continued, “Sometimes, it’s fun to not have so much expectations and have a little talent and overachieve but the reality is, the goals are simple: be great citizens in the classroom, be great citizens outside the classroom, represent Riordan very well, play the game the right way, and win the WCAL, win CCS and make a run at NorCal and State at the highest levels… Is that going to be easy? Of course not, even with as much talent as we have, but those are the expectations period.”

The starting backcourt is the strength of the team with point guard Bryce Monroe ’20 committed to Sam Houston State and shooting guard Jelani Clark ‘20 committed to Nevada. As juniors, they combined for 32.2 PPG and 7.7 APG.

“Well you hope they lead the way by example by working hard at practice and being diligent students, playing hard, having good energy, having a good work ethic, good habits and showing the guys also that just because we’re on this level that we are still very much accountable to the rules, standards and expectations of the program which includes the work that needs to be done to be good,’’ said Greene.

“They should be very much experienced, nothing should really faze them. If they can help the other less experienced players it will help their game and that will be part of their leadership role. They are going to have to be leaders,” said third year Riordan Varsity Basketball Head Coach Joey Curtin.

The front court is improved this season with such “big-men” like Chan Ngot ’20, Toyo Kano ’20, Riiny Riiny ’20, and Elhadji ‘Mor’ Seck the 7-1 sophomore.

Two other skilled sophomores on the roster are guards Mark Barer and Sean Quanico.

“They are going to be important role players and they are going to have to shoot the ball for us when they get in there, and Jelani and Bryce are going to attract a lot of attention and so those guys are going to get an opportunity to get open looks so they need confidence to shoot the ball,” Coach Curtin explained the sophomore’s roles.

In his first year at Head Coach, the team won nine more games than they did in the previous season and increased their national rank by 3641.

The team more than doubled their conference wins last year in Curtin’s second year as the Varsity basketball coach, going from 4 wins the previous year to 10 last year.

The expectations certainly are greater than just double- digit conference wins as last year they suffered a disappointing overtime loss to Bellarmine in the Semi-Finals of the CIF Central Coast Section Playoffs and a loss to Folsom in the first round of the CIF Division 1 State Championships. In both losses, Riordan was a higher seed than the opponent.

In the first regular season game, the Crusaders beat Junipero Serra 64-59 after being down at the half. Jelani Clark and Bryce Monroe both got off to hot starts to begin the season.

“Last season was last season. There are different players, this team is different. What’s done is done. The past is the past. Honestly, we are looking game to game,” expressed Coach Curtin.

“My only expectation is for us to keep it moving and play hard and play together. I have zero expectations beyond that because that’s where you get into trouble and become unhappy. If you don’t meet expectations right away, there’s a stage where you think you should be somewhere and you’re not…you can get discouraged and it’s a long season.”