Mens Basketball Dendrique Taylor

Men’s basketball head coach Dendrique Taylor added Garret Boaz, Scott Cutley, and Ryan Hamm to his 2021-2022 season coaching staff. (CSUF Athletics)

With basketball  season approaching, health and safety protocols are set to be less restrictive than last season.

Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball head coach Dedrique Taylor said players are permitted to be in the weight room more often, attend in-person film sessions and the team can adjust when practices are held. 

If vaccinated individuals come in contact with someone who has recently tested positive, they will not have to be isolated for 14 days, said Jaime Potter, an assistant athletics director for sports medicine. However, they will be tested three to five days later while also being required to wear a face mask.

Near the end of 2020, men’s and women’s basketball teams were the first sports to return to action during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, while fall sports, like soccer and volleyball, had their seasons canceled.

Going into 2021, Potter, a former athletic trainer, said that drastic changes have been hard to make such as teams competing in back-to-back games, getting tested three days a week and whether practices were going to be held. She also mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic played a key part in deciding how often she met with student athletes.

“Prior to COVID, I am probably seeing four to five women’s basketball players at one time that I’m treating,” Potter said. “Now, I am only able to treat, during COVID, one person for only a 20-minute span.”

To ensure that all athletes were treated in a safe manner last season, treatment tables had to be six feet apart with athletes expected to come in early or stay after practice. Those safety protocols helped keep positive COVID-19 cases low in comparison to other teams in the Big West. Potter estimated that the number of positive cases were around 15 to 20.

Taylor said he saw the 2020 season as an opportunity for the team to learn to accept change and make the best of it. 

Despite events off of the court, Taylor described the team’s play to be inconsistent as they ended with a 6-10 record. 

However, now that this season seems to be going back to a routine, Taylor said he notices chemistry being built among the players.

“Just getting to know each other and learning where each other is on the floor at any given time and developing a level of trust that they don’t have to tell or they don’t have to worry, they just know that this person is going to be there,” Taylor said.

Both Taylor and Potter stated that everyone on the men’s and women’s basketball teams are fully vaccinated.

Men’s basketball will open the season on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Santa Clara at Leavey Center. Women’s basketball will tip-off in their home opener the same day against Southern Utah University at 7 p.m in Titan Gym . The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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