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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 6:32 am | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 
Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Character the Driving Force Behind Breakers’ Perfect Season

The coach reflects on how each player contributed more than skills to the 18-0 basketball team.

I make no apologies for the 18-0 basketball season just completed by our Santa Barbara Breakers professional basketball team.

A perfect season cannot be accomplished on skills and desire alone. What I learned in the past 12 weeks was the dynamics of 10 young men willingly placing their well-equipped ego’s on the back burner, which is usually about as consistent as Britney Spears or Paris Hilton staying out of the tabloid news.

The challenge all season was to pursue the quest for victory, one game at a time. In 30 years of coaching, I have experienced many nights where I assumed we would duplicate a great performance on the hardwood floor, like the previous game. To my chagrin, I would pull my hair out and ride the referees, frustrated that my team self-destructed and played the game nowhere near as it should have been played — with near-perfection mentally, emotionally, spirtually and physically.

What I witnessed this season was 10 players who listened, carried out their assignments like soldiers and spewed the game with passion on and off the floor. We actually had 10 individuals who liked one another and covered one another’s backside again, on and off the court.

I have always liked the word game, so I will share with you what each player represents to the Breakers’ success this year: Josh Merrill, leadership; Justin Johnson, desire; Shantay Legins, charismatic; Tim Taylor, classy; Mark Peters, flashy; Allan Purnell, glue; Adam Zahn, soaring; Rashid Byrd, dynamic; Jeremy Vague, loving; Sheldon Bailey, sincere; Jerry Dupree, resilient; Tyler Newton, maturing; and Jeff McMillian, unselfish.

The wills and skills of this team were outstanding and guaranteed some wins for this season. Yet, without a doubt, the character makeup of these individuals was the deciding factor in producing an unblemished record.

As a coach, I have been fortunate to be a part of some very successful teams, but the 2008 Santa Barbara Breakers team was the most rewarding and satisfying group of players I have worked with. What they taught me is that character is an absolute must when building a team while striving for greatness.

Thanks again to the City of Champions, Santa Barbara, for supporting us during a very exciting season. We look forward to entertaining you again in 2009.

Curt Pickering is coach of the Santa Barbara Breakers.

 

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