Playing basketball at the Division 1 level is a dream many basketball players have had since they first picked up a ball.
Motivated to play by a parent, Chance Hunter, a junior guard on the Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team, first began his basketball career at the age of five.
“My mom got me a big basketball court to play on,” Hunter said. “From that point on I loved the game.”
Growing up idolizing the late Kobe Bryant, Hunter was inspired by the guard and modeled his game play after the Lakers legend, sharing the same passion for basketball.
“My goal is to get drafted, if that does not happen, I will play overseas,” said Hunter. “I want basketball to be a part of my life as long as possible.”
Trever Irish, a third-year center for the Beach, was 14 when he first started playing basketball.
As a freshman in highschool, Irish stood at 6-foot five inches and played in an intramural league that was run by the school’s basketball coach. Irish found out about the team tryouts and became a member of the high school team.
Growing up as a kid in Lewiston, Maine, Irish modeled his game after San Antonio Spurs great, Tim Duncan.
“I feel like I play the same as Tim Duncan,” Irish said. “I play the same position that he did. He got a touch, he can shoot. I got a touch and I can shoot.”
Like Hunter, Irish wants basketball to be a part of his life long after his college career is over. Instead of playing professionally, Irish has taken an interest in the possibility of having a coaching career.
It is not uncommon for athletes to want to follow in their older sibsling’s footsteps
Sophomore forward Romelle Mansel started playing basketball when he was five years old
“My older brother started playing ball, and me being younger, I wanted to be just like my brother, so I started playing basketball,” Mansel said.
Mansel said he likes to model his position and game after a few big men legends.
“Lamarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and young Shaquille O’neal are some players I idolize,” Mansel said. “I looked at how they played and then I try to play like them.”
When Mansel’s time at the Beach is over , he dreams of getting drafted to the NBA.
“If God forbid I do not get drafted,” said Mansel. “I will go overseas to keep playing basketball.”