The Saints have worked hard on the court, and every Mt. Hood men’s basketball player has an incredible story to share.
As of Feb. 28, MHCC is third in the Northwest Athletic Conference South Division at 9-4, with an overall season record of 13-11.
With three regular season games remaining, the Saints ranked 7th out of 34 teams in the league’s latest coaches’ poll. They hope to compete in the NWAC Championship Tournament which begins March 17 at Everett Community College near Seattle.
Freshman Nymier Brooks has goals the team is working towards this season, and he hopes to focus on the present, he said. The 6ft 8in striker says practices are going well and he also likes the atmosphere at MHCC. He is originally from Philadelphia and attended Simon Grant High School and then Kofa Freedom Academy for two years.
Brooks said he loves the joy of playing basketball and enjoys the stress relief the sport provides. One of the favorite places he has been to for basketball is Atlanta. He is looking forward to improving, being stable and growing in the sport.
It is also Xavier Betancourt’s first year at the CSMC. The 6-foot-3 guard is a sophomore from Tampa, Fla., where he played basketball for two years at Freedom High School.
Betancourt arrived in Mt. Hood last September and said his favorite thing about Mt. Hood and playing on the team is the Saints coaching staff – led by head coach Nate Bowie – and the fraternity of players and their relationships.
FAR AND NEAR
Aaron Badibo is originally from London, England, and moved to Oregon in October 2020. The second is in his second year at MHCC, having attended Sheridan College in Wyoming.
Now, one of his goals for this basketball season is to win the NWAC Championship, as well as transferring to a college afterward.
“I can’t wait to go to the new school after the (NWAC) playoffs,” said Badibo, a 6-foot-3 guard. He said he enjoys communicating with the team as a family. “It’s easier to win games.” Jonathan Claxton, a 6-foot-8 post player, is in his second year at Mt. Hood, despite being just a freshman. His favorite thing about MHCC and being part of the team is “being able to play basketball with a group of cool people,” he said.
Claxton grew up in Portland and went to Roosevelt High School. Off the pitch, he loves to draw and hike. He is excited about the upcoming AFAC Championships and the opportunities other matches will bring to the table.
For Patrick Lanipekun, practices are also a lot of fun and the team is on the same page, he said. He loves practices and unity when everyone pulls together.
Lanipekun, a 6ft 4in guard, moved from London, England to Oregon in August 2021 after attending City of London Academy. He is a sophomore in his freshman year on the Saints; he studied at the Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado for two years, and
also played basketball there for a year. Off the court, he enjoys watching movies and TV shows and listening to music, as he looks forward to transferring to further his education after earning his associate degree.
TRANSPLANTATIONS TAKE ROOTS
Mt. Hood is also far from home for Seven Ferguson, who relocated from Miami, Florida just weeks before school started last September. It’s the first year on the team and at MHCC for the first-year guard, who is also 6-foot-4.
His favorite thing about CSMC is playing on the team, as well as the (campus) landscape and a new experience, Ferguson said. He’s excited to “potentially win the championship and finish the school year,” he said.
Away from basketball, Ferguson also loves shoes and other fashions. He hopes to finish this year with a high GPA, as well as applying for scholarships, as he plans to play for the team again next year.
Jahville Collins came to Mt. Hood from the Los Angeles area of California about three years ago. The 6-foot-4 guard is playing in his third year at MHCC — as is 6-foot-11 Saints center Alex Rentsch — both due to COVID-era eligibility extensions.
In his spare time, Collins said he enjoys hiking with his dogs and going to the beach. His goal is an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree, though he’s not quite sure where yet, and is enjoying his time at MHCC and looking forward to all that’s to come.