Guard Antoine Jenkins and center K’Lon Williams helped the View Park Knights boys’ basketball team reach the division IV City and State Playoffs during the 2014-2015 season. Both players will return this season as co-captains of the Knights.
Despite their accomplishments, the team did not make it without struggle last season; View Park was in the rebuilding phase after several players transferred.
“A lot of the players that didn’t get a lot of playing time from the year before really had to step up and fill those shoes,” said head coach Dennis Latimore. “I felt like they did a great job doing it.”
The team captains are both seniors with at least one year of varsity experience. Jenkins was co-captain of the team last season, according to Latimore.
“Last year, we were definitely one of the most athletic teams in the Coliseum League,” said Latimore. “We were really well disciplined, executing sets and also just playing together as a team.”
Latimore noted that Jenkins has been the most competitive player that he has ever coached with the ability to outshine opposing point guards. Co-captain Williams is 6’5” and plays well under pressure.
“He’s the most athletic guy on the team,” said Latimore. “Very athletic jump shot in the gym [and] does a good job in clutch situations,”
The Knights earned the second seed in the city playoffs and fell to first seeded LACES high school 60-66 during the championship match, according to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Jenkins noted the excitement of their playoff run and the disappointment of losing a double-digit lead during the championship game.
“That loss to LACES really hit us pretty hard,” said Jenkins. “We allowed the team to come back and get the victory.”
View Park would go on to get the 13th seed in the Division IV state playoffs and would play against fourth seeded Campbell Hall. Jenkins got injured and had to sit out the game and the Knights would lose to Campbell Hall 64 -78.
“When we played Campbell Hall, it felt like we were playing another city championship game rather than just playing a first round state game,” said Williams. “The level of intensity is like a lot higher.”
The Knights will face two tournaments before their first in-season game against Fremont High School. View Park is currently in the fall league at Inglewood.
Official practices for the new season will start Nov. 9, according to Latimore. Throughout the off-season, Jenkins conditioned themselves to become prepared for the new season.
“I have worked out at least 2 or 3 times a day [whether] if it is at the beach, the open gym,” said Jenkins. “Taking care of my body, nutrition, everything to help my body perform at its highest.”
Williams received support from his godfather during his off-season workouts.
“We worked on changing my shooting form,” said Williams. “We worked out with my AAU coach and we basically did ball handling skills.”
Both co-captains look up to their parents for inspiration. For Jenkins, his father and other family members were role models for him. Williams looks up to his mother for her dedication and support.
“She always has a willing attitude,” said Williams. “I’m glad that she’s been there for me whenever I needed her the most.”