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January 3, 2006 > Power Basketball- Ohlone style

Power Basketball- Ohlone style

Coach John Peterson molds boys who play basketball into teams of men that overpower opponents with depth and discipline. His teams have shown consistency by constantly contending for league championships and providing a staging area for developing talent headed for four-year schools. Arriving at Ohlone College six years ago from a successful coaching position at Metropolitan State College of Denver - a NCAA Division II program that has won national championships - Coach Peterson accepted the position of head men's basketball coach and the opportunity to return to California. He began his coaching career at University of San Francisco and longed to return to the Bay Area. Peterson said, "This was an opportunity I could not pass up."

With the perspective and experience of coaching NCAA national championship caliber teams, Peterson notes that by coaching at the community college level, "you can, without question, have more of an impact shaping a young man's life and preparing him to move on than at the four-year level." The challenge is to constantly recruit new players since players are usually only available for two years and may leave during a season with an offer from a four-year school. "You are constantly recruiting, constantly teaching and constantly counseling," says Peterson. Although a significant change from a four-year program, Peterson is quick to add, "But, I like it, it's great. Especially when you see the payoff, watching guys two or even four years removed."

High school athletes often show up with an inflated vision of their prowess on the court and it is the coach's task to introduce them to a playing field that has "leveled out." In some cases, a change of position and tactics is necessary to make the best use of a player's talent. The often difficult task of the college coach, especially at the community college level where athletes may be focused on using this as a springboard to an athletic scholarship at a four-year school, is to mold and help players mature into a new role on and off the court.

Peterson says, "Our philosophy is to put an athlete in the position to be successful, so how that person fits into our type and style of play is part of our recruiting. We recruit to our style of play. We like athletic kids who can move up and down the floor with a high skill level; we are a very physical team." Defense is a mark of the Renegades men's basketball team and they are currently ranked as number one defensive team in the state, forcing turnovers and smothering their opponent's offense. "We are disruptive," says Peterson. On offense he cites taking care of the ball, shot selection and team play as reasons for Ohlone success.

Peterson says that the men's basketball program is unique compared to other sports at Ohlone. "All of them want to go to a Division I school. That is their dream." Of course, this is not possible given the competition, so, as coach, Peterson works to get his players placed in a winning program that will fit their talent and provide a scholarship opportunity for additional education. While some Ohlone players have gone on to Division I schools, becoming prospects for the National Basketball Association, many do not. "It takes a while for some of them to come to the realization that they will not become a Division I guy." With five years of Division I and three years of Division II coaching experience, Coach Peterson has an extensive network of contacts to help his players move on.

Players come to community college basketball for a variety of reasons including skill level, academic standing and personal issues. "Whatever it is, they have to get them sorted out so they can move on." At Ohlone, Peterson says that in his program, the graduation rate is in the 90th percentile and, "Every guy who has wanted a scholarship has gotten a scholarship. Our success rate in terms of moving kids on academically and athletically is pretty high." Peterson notes that the Renegades style of play allows players to freedom to make plays. "There is structure and detail in how we teach; we spend a lot of time with fundamentals, making kids better as individual players."

This year, Ohlone men's basketball is as exciting and competitive as ever. For a glimpse of talented players, some headed for major universities and to see the results of great coaching, come out and watch the Renegades run the hardwood and shoot hoops. Next home game is Saturday, January 14 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call John Peterson at (510) 659-6042 or email

Ohlone Men's Basketball Renegades

Coaching Staff:
John Peterson - Head Coach, Ryan Irmer, Troy Johnson

Team Roster:
Renardo Bass, Sam Kim, Jermaine Smith, Mike Holmes, Giovanni Vernon, Bert Whittington, Nate Carroll, Brandon Lott, Alex Arias, Allen Hester, Julius Ybarra, Jeff Rodgers, Lloyd Russell,

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