COVID-19 Steals Title From Undefeated Rams

By Meyer Gorelick


As the undefeated City College men’s basketball team got packed in the film room to travel down to Fresno and earn its state championship, the news started flooding in. After it was announced that the NCAA Tournament was canceled, the writing was on the wall. When word finally came in that the CCCAA men’s and women’s state basketball championships were canceled, the team was devastated.

“We were hurt,” Sophomore wing Quincy Urbina said. “We cried, me along with my teammates.”

Players wanted their undefeated season to end the way it should. With a title.

Freshman forward Seyi Reiley dunks on College of The Redwoods on March 7, 2020. Photo by Amal Ben Ghanem/The Guardsman

“Being 30-0, with a chance to go undefeated, with a perfect season, and not get the chance to play was just devastating,” Sophomore wing Emeka Udenyi said.

For the five players committed to play at Division I programs next year it was a major disappointment. The people who took it even harder were the three players who were going to get looked at by coaches and hopefully earn scholarship offers at the state championship.

“They were the ones who were most beat up about it,” Head Coach Justin Labagh said. “I felt really bad for them.”

While it impacts their recruitment, the silver lining Labagh pointed out is that everyone is impacted, and it’s not as if those Division I coaches got the opportunity to go scout other players instead.

“It’ll slow things down, but in the end, I think these guys have just such a huge sample size of all this good basketball underneath their belt,” Labagh said. “I think once the dust settles they’ll probably end up where they’re supposed to.”



Labagh who has been the head coach at City College for 17 seasons and won three state championships said this is “one of the most dominating JC teams” that he has ever seen.

With an average margin of victory of 39 points, the Rams led the state in offense, scoring 101.7 points per game, and were fourth in defense, limiting opponents to 62.5 points per game.

They were deep, featuring 10 unselfish players who could share time and share the ball.


The Rams celebrate after defeating College of The Redwoods on March 7, 2020, to advance to the State Championship playoffs. Photo by Amal Ben Ghanem/The Guardsman

“A guy like Miles Norris, Nate Robinson, even Quincy Urbina, those guys on any other team are playing 35, 38 minutes a game,” Labagh said.

“They sacrificed. They gave up points, they gave up minutes,” added Labagh. 

Udenyi witnessed first hand how this lack of ego elevated the team.

“There was no jealousy on this team, and you don’t see that a lot,” he said.

Being able to fully utilize the entirety of an ultra-talented roster allowed the Rams to play relentless defense, speed up the game. Given more possessions and superior players, they utterly demolished every team they faced.



Aside from having a rare collection of talent, what made this team unique was its closeness off the court. It’s not something that happens every year.

“We can try to create a real positive atmosphere with these guys, but you can’t force them to like each other,” Labagh said.

When asked what they would miss the most about this team, both Urbina and Udenyi focused on the time spent with teammates.

“I can honestly say that when I get married, those guys will be at my wedding,” Urbina said.

This bond translated to unprecedented success on the court.

“When we went out to play, it was easy. You know, we all were friends and we all wanted to see each other do well,” Udenyi said.

“This was hands down the best team I’ve ever been a part of, on and off the court,” Urbina said. 

The incredible synergy has helped propel the players to not only team success, but individual accolades as well and opportunities to play basketball at the next level.

Awards and Legacy

Sophomore forward Miles Norris was named Coast Conference North MVP and will attend Division I UC Santa Barbara next season.

Udenyi, Urbina, as well as freshman guard Darrion Trammell, were named first-team all-conference, while sophomore guard Nate Robinson earned a second-team nod.

Udenyi, Robinson, and Trammell will all transfer to Seattle University to compete together at the Division I Level.

“I’m excited to get a chance to compete with those guys for a couple more years and see what we can do,” Udenyi said. “And hopefully, eventually we can make the NCAA tournament, that’d probably be the ultimate goal.”

Urbina will play at Division I Grand Canyon University in Phoenix next year and hopes to make a big impact while he’s there.

“I want to be remembered as one of the best players ever at Grand Canyon,” Urbina said.

“I want to make an impact in Phoenix, on someone or something and have it be positive,” he added.

Guards Kyree Brown, Ezekiel Holman, and Dale Curie are all deep in the recruiting process and hope to make transfers to Division I schools for next season as well.

Meanwhile, Labagh will be starting almost from scratch and reload for a brand new run at the state title next year.

The Guardsman