Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

New head coach Chris Acker embraces all obstacles

As the new head coach of the Long Beach State men’s basketball team, Chris Acker is ready to face the multitude of challenges that lie ahead.

“Relentlessness. We will be relentless in every aspect,” Acker said.

The issue staring him in the face is that a total of 70 points per game from last year’s NCAA Tournament team have reportedly entered the transfer portal.

Junior guard Jadon Jones, junior forwards Aboubacar and Lassina Traore and sophomore guard AJ George are players that are in the transfer portal.

“The number one plan is to get the guys who left back on campus, so we’re working diligently at that right now,” Acker said. “As we get a feel of who’s coming back and who’s not coming back, then from there we’ll just kind of make our adjustments.”

Acker said he is confident he has really good players on his roster if his staff is not able to retain the athletes who led The Beach to an NCAA Tournament berth last season. Players will be given every opportunity in the upcoming season to showcase their talents, Acker said.

The two players he mentioned specifically who are capable of stepping up are sophomore guard Jason Hart Jr. and senior guard Isa Silva.

Hart Jr. played five games in his freshman campaign last season before he was forced to take a medical redshirt and Silva started the first 14 games of the year but saw his minutes gradually go down as he was demoted to the bench.

Acker spent five years as an assistant under head coach Brian Dutcher at San Diego State University.

The Aztecs’ offense is usually a balanced attack without a true number-one scorer that relies on its defense to create offensive opportunities, except Jaedon LeDee and his 21.4 point-per-game average last year.

Acker said he intends to rely on defense at The Beach and stick true to the system Dutcher runs at SDSU.

“I definitely plan on [having] guys being able to score based on their abilities and putting them in good situations to have success,” he said.

One thing he learned from Dutcher is that it takes a long time to get to March [Madness] and the patience with the team, including the individual players because each player comes along at different times throughout the season.

“The most important thing that I took from Coach Dutcher is it’s just all about the work and as long as we work and we’re pushing towards that ultimate goal, eventually we’ll get there,” Acker said.

The excitement around the men’s basketball team at San Diego State is something Acker plans to replicate at The Beach. Acker said it takes engagement from students, stakeholders, alumni and the community.

He said he will hold up his end of the bargain by putting a product on the floor that gets people excited, he just wants people to come out and support.

“I just think next year, four or five years from now, the sky is the limit,” Acker said. “We’re not going to put limitations on where we can go or where we’re going to be.”

This offseason will play a huge factor in the trajectory of the program for the years to come. If Acker and his team fail to keep the players allegedly in the transfer portal, they’ll resort to the same portal to recruit replacements for The Beach’s roster gap.

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