Dante Collier’s days start at 2:30 a.m. when he wakes up to deliver the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. The early start means less sleep, however it leaves his days open for a full course-load at Community College of Philadelphia, where he is a starting guard and co-captain of the men’s basketball team.
During the week, Collier’s day usually ends with either practice or a game. It’s more than a hobby for the 5’10” point guard for the Colonials. “Basketball is my way of getting away from the world. It’s like a stress reliever. When I’m on the court and playing, I get to have as much fun as I want,” said Collier, a Business major. Other members of the team work as well to support themselves and family members, and pay for school. They make time for the basketball team because they share Collier’s passion.
Lately, the team has been making an indelible impression on sports enthusiasts across the nation. The Colonials, with a 12-1 record, are ranked third nationally in the National Junior Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NJCAA), an honor that has made the scrappy team a target as of late for its opponents.
“The guys are playing hard and working well together. Really, it’s those two things which are why we are where we are right now,” said Joe Rome, the men’s basketball coach. “We’ve got half a season to go. We’ll see what happens in the second half. As long as we stay together as a team we should be okay.”
Collier credits the bond that he and other veteran players have formed with newer players this year for the success. “We’re able to talk to the freshmen about how to keep things together. The main thing is sticking together and not quitting,” Collier said. “When you play on a team, it’s more like a brotherhood. When one person goes down or one person isn’t feeling good or is upset, you lend him a helping hand and keep him motivated. Keep everybody together on a nice, calm level and they’ll feed off that energy.”
The regular season has 27 games, 13 of which were completed by December 16. If the team maintains its winning streak it would compete for the conference, region and ultimately national championship.
As the team heads into winter break it needs to play well, Collier said. “You have to expect people are going to play their hearts out against us,” he said. “People know that we’re ranked now and these other teams want to be the one to beat us.”
The men’s basketball roster includes: Dante Collier, Basir Fulmore, Marcus Smith, Eric Massenburg, Jr., Jeff Giddings, Nigel Caldwell, Lennon Winebrenner, Devin Bowsky, Rafiq Johnson, Ron Rollins, Jaleel Williams, Jeff Williford, Mikal Mumin and Zachary Stone.
Smith and Caldwell currently are the team’s highest scorers. Smith is averaging 10.2 points per game and 3.8 rebounds, while Caldwell averages 10.2 points per game and 4.2 rebounds.