Scottsdale Community College men’s basketball aims high after success filled season


NEVN Photography

SCC basketball players during warm-ups for practice.

Preston Grace, Reporter

Expectations are high for the Scottsdale Community College men’s basketball team following last season’s trip to the NJCAA National Championship tournament.

When it comes to their roster, head coach Mark Bunker is confident that this team has what it takes to win the regional title, and make it to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament for the second straight season.

“We have our entire starting five coming back, some really good transfers, and some really good freshmen,” Bunker said.  “The expectation is to repeat and do something pretty special this year.”

The team competed in the annual ACCAC JUCO Jamboree last weekend and Bunker seemed pleased with how the team performed.

“What I was happy with is the guys played really hard, and they did what the coaches asked them to do,” Bunker said.  “They seemed to be a step above a lot of the other teams in the conference at this early point in the season.”

The Artichokes found themselves eliminated in the first round of the National Tournament last season.  But Bunker sees it at a learning experience and thinks it will help this year’s team.

“Some of the things were in our control, and some weren’t. Our flights got canceled on the way to Illinois, bags got lost, and we missed practice time. We weren’t ready to play that first game,” Bunker recalled.  “Now that we have a little bit more experience and a better understanding of the physicality of the teams that are out there, that is going to give us a huge advantage if we have the opportunity to go again.”

Bunker, who received the West District Coach of the Year, and his second straight coach of the year last season, has the utmost confidence in how the entire SCC basketball program will perform this season.

“Both our men’s and women’s programs are going to have a strong team this year. 90% of our (men’s) roster came from the Phoenix area, and guys that had a lot of success in the local high schools.  We will definitely be a team to watch this year,” Bunker said.

The Artichokes will play three pre-season contests this month before opening their regular season on Nov. 1, when they host Arizona Sol.