Great Tournament; No Glaciers

Posted: December 4, 2015 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2015-16, AVC Tournament, Pre-Conference

The tournament weekend has finally arrived.  The 2015-16 AVC Tournament will begin today at 1 pm.  Don’t worry about “Global Glaciation” in Antelope Valley, it is only supposed to get down to a balmy 28 degrees tonight.

Here is an article from the Antelope Valley Press who call the tournament, “… almost a prelude to the Southern California elite eight."

AVC tourney boasts best field to date

Brian Golden

It’s the only basketball tournament that doubles as homecoming.

The Antelope Valley College men’s basketball team is home after an undefeated November on the road.

Now the task is to win the Gregg Anderson Invitational tournament this weekend that tips off the Marauders’ home schedule.

"It’s not just a basketball tournament," said AVC coach John Taylor. "Not after what Mr. Anderson meant to our school and, really, to our entire Valley."

Gregg Anderson, the man who developed Ka’anapai Beach in Maui, the charter Lakers season ticket holder with a single-digit account serial number, who Jerry West asked to be his agent after arriving with the Lakers from West Virginia University, was the man who came here in 1983 to build Rancho Vista.

And never left.

He adopted Newton Chelette and his basketball program in 1989, regularly brought the Laker Girls to town, and enjoyed Marauder basketball every bit as much as the Laker basketball he watched from courtside seats.

"Man, did he give it to refs," Taylor recalled. "He said out loud everything that I was thinking.

"He helped me out. I couldn’t say it, but Mr. Anderson could."

It wasn’t a one-way transaction when Anderson extended his helping hand to the Marauder women.

"His son, Rob, used to sit with him at the games," Taylor said. "He came up to me one time and said, ‘Coach, I can never thank you enough.

"’Because of Marauder basketball, I’ve become so much closer with my father.’"

In the inaugural Gregg Anderson Invitational – when AVC got around state budget cuts by having Taylor coach BOTH the men’s and women’s teams – the Marauders pulled a titanic upset in the semifinals by knocking off a towering Riverside City College team.

As they missed layup after tip after dunk, AVC fans could see Gregg sitting up on the rim, knocking those shots away.

"I don’t know if there was a dry eye on our side of the gym," Chelette said. "I’ve been here for 26 years and that was one of the most emotional nights I’ve ever spent in Marauder Gym."

The Marauders have only won the Mr. Anderson Tournament once in its five seasons since Gregg made that final swoop down the lane through the gates of heaven on Dec. 23, 2009.

"It’s time," Taylor said. "Of course saying that, there’s not a weak link in this tournament. Top to bottom, it’s a beast."

There are echoes of the first Wooden Classic in 1994, when UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas and John Calipari’s UMass team made it look more like a Final Four than a first four.

San Bernardino Valley is 9-0 after knocking off the previously unbeaten No. 1 team in the state, Saddleback.

East L.A. is 6-0, like the Marauders.

Antelope Valley College opens with Los Angeles Pierce, which actually beat AVC, 81-78.

Then they found out the guy who hit the late game-tying three was ineligible.

"It’s always nice to be home for this tournament," Taylor said. "We want to win it for ourselves, but also for Mr. Anderson’s memory.

"This has always been called the ‘Toughest Eight-Team Tournament to Win.’ But I can’t remember a field that, top to bottom, is as tough as this one. This is almost a prelude to the Southern California elite eight." Follow on Twitter @AVPressSports

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