Flowers Blooming In Rough Start For Men's Basketball

Jordan Flowers is an early-season brightspot for the PCC 2021-2022 men's basketball team.
Jordan Flowers is an early-season brightspot for the PCC 2021-2022 men's basketball team.

It is certainly an unusal time for the Pasadena City College men's basketball program. The Lancers found out their long-time head coach Michael Swanegan retired before the season, and the recruiting off-season was made tougher due to the effects of the layoff from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interim head coach Hosie Ward, an assistant under Swanegan, and another long-time PCC assistant Jesse Ellis are now running things as the program only has one returning player from the 2019-2020 squad in reserve forward Joseph Rousseau. The only other "veteran" players are 2-year Lancers football wide receiver Joevontay Clayton (a forward) and transfer Douet Broughton, a 24-year-old guard who played at Johnson University in Florida back in the 2016-17 season. 

Carrying 11 freshmen learning the college game, the Lancers opened the 2021-22 season with four straight losses, including three at the Ventura We Play Hard Tournament. On Wednesday, PCC dropped to 0-4 with an 92-80 loss v. Oxnard at the LA Valley Crossover Tournament. Today in the tourney's second round, Pasadena looks for its first win in facing Santa Barbara City College (3 p.m. tip-off). 

"We're a young team and the players are basically learning on the job," Ward said. "We will go through growing pains, but we will strive to remain competitive and improve as the season goes on. We already have a few kids that have emerged in different roles."

One of those players is 6-foot-2 guard Jordan Flowers, who played his prep ball at Higley High in Arizona after being raised in Detroit, Mich. Flowers is averaging a team-high 20.3 points a game as he poured in 33 points in the loss to Oxnard. Flowers was 10-for-11 from the free throw line and drained five 3-pointers for the second consecutive game. He added five steals and three assists. Eric Lemongo, a 6-5 center from Dorsey High, contributed 13 points and seven rebounds. 

Devan Ford, a frosh guard from Alhambra High, has been another player that has stepped up in the early part of the season. Against Oxnard, he suffered through foul trouble but scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had four assists and blocked three shots.

On Nov. 6 in a consolation game of the Ventura Tournament, PCC played well against Moopark, before losing in overtime, 100-89. Ford hit a jumper with 19 seconds left that sent the game to OT at 81-81. Ford finished with 30 points and nine rebounds while Flowers added 21 points and seven assists. Lemongo had 12 points and seven boards. Off the bench, wing Brandon Torimaru (Temple City High) chipped in nine points (three 3-pointers) and five rebounds.

Ford scored 23 points and Flowers 14 in an 88-61 loss to Riverside City College on Nov. 5. In the season opener, PCC was routed by state #4 Ventura, 78-37, as Flowers scored 13 off the bench (7-for-7 at the line) and Rousseau was 4-for-4 from the floor for eight points. 

Donald Guyton Jr., whose father Donald Guyton Sr. was an outstanding, All-South Coast Conference player at PCC in the mid-1990s, is a 6-1 wing. Le'Raun Peron, a 6-2 wing from Los Altos High, is the son of PCC women's basketball coach Joe Peron, a former state finalist guard for the Lancers' in 1983. He is the third son of a PCC head coach to play in recent seasons for the men's basketball team. The others are Ivan Egbunike (2017-2019), son of track and field/cross country coach Innocent Egbunike, and Mike Swanegan (2011-2013), son of retired coach Swanegan. 

Filling out the rest of the PCC '21-22 roster is wing Nathaniel Carter (Alhambra), wing David Perry (from Texas), wing Charles Jones (Muir HS), center Kevin Kioumejyan (La Salle High), and forward Eduardo Vallin (Duarte). 

The Lancers host the 8-team, Skip Robinson Classic next Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 18-20 at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.