Women’s basketball grieves lost season

The Women’s Wolves basketball team is adapting to being forced to miss its entire 2020-2021 season due to the safety protocols set up by JJC’s athletic administration.

Upon finding out about the cancellation, head coach Shaun Sanderson had his team prepared, from the incoming freshman to the returning players.

Sanderson pointed to some of the benefits of the missed season and how it helped with the transitions his players had to make.

“For our incoming and current players this year has allowed them to adjust to online learning without having to experience balancing an athletic schedule,” said Sanderson. “It is also an opportunity for each of them to take advantage of getting ahead or putting them on track to earn their associate’s degree.”

The Wolves were scheduled to start the season shortly after the start of the spring semester. This was coming off a strong regional push last season, which made this season’s anticipation that much higher.

After losing six sophomores last season and having only three returning freshmen, the recruitment process has been a struggle. Due to the cancellation of the season, every athlete on this year’s team has been granted a year of eligibility, if they choose to use it.

“It has been rough for all of us,” Sanderson said. “Coaches, players as well as families. Over the years basketball has allowed us to bring families together, relieve stress and exercise our minds and bodies.”

As the team will now have to wait an extensive amount of time until the next season, Sanderson and his staff will look for ways to keep his players engaged for the coming season.

“We have tried to be creative with keeping our players interested via Microsoft Teams meetings, but it is difficult,” Sanderson said. “When you see professionals, high school, other colleges and universities playing, the girls find it hard to deal with.”

Along with the virtual meeting and occasional practices, some of Sanderson’s players have tried to stay in shape and keep up to speed with their games by taking part in pickup basketball or individual workouts.

Sanderson said the right decision was made because the safety of individual players and staff had to come first. That is more important than risking the health of individuals by playing, he said.

“We are a contact sport,” said Sanderson. “We must make sure we are doing what is best for everyone involved, especially our student-athletes. I feel we were taking every precaution to be safe, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.”