Throughout an athlete’s life, they will accomplish many things that they never dreamed they could ever do. For seniors Austin Cole and Kyle Ferreira, hitting 1,000 points with Kingsmen basketball was just that.
Cole hit his 1,000th point in early December (12/5/18), with Ferreira following in suit at the end of January (1/26/19), making them only the third set of teammates in program history to play three-plus seasons together and each score 1,000 points.
“It was a great feeling,” said Cole. “Just knowing that these four years - with all the hard work that I’ve put in and being able to hit that - it is a great accomplishment.”
Finishing up his fourth season with the Kingsmen, Cole has been an integral part of the program since his arrival as a freshman. He worked his way up to being a starter his sophomore year. Ferreira, on the other hand, was a transfer from Cal State Bakersfield and has been with the program for three years. He made his debut with the Kingsmen during his sophomore season and has been a key component on both offense and defense ever since.
The dynamic duo showcased their power together for three seasons, from raining three’s deep behind the line, to hitting last second buzzer beaters from half court and fade away jumpers, they have done it all.
“I couldn’t ask for a better three years,” said Ferreira. “The two splash bros have really made a good run. I am blessed with the opportunity to even have the chance to accomplish something like that and it definitely just goes to show that all the hard work has paid off. It is something that I wouldn’t even think about or dream about and it is awesome to be a part of.”
With a strong bond on the court, Cole and Ferreira credit much of their chemistry to the friendship they have developed off the floor as well.
“We lived together last year and that helped off the court,” said Cole. “We have played together for three years and I know what he’s capable of. I know where to find him on the court and I know what he can do, and vice versa.”
Ferreira also feels that the relationship he has built with Cole over the years has had an impact on both of their playing capabilities.
“Three years is a good chunk of time to spend with someone and you really start to understand their capabilities, their tendencies, and where they can be effective,” said Ferreira. “We know where we can be effective and we definitely play off each other.”
Relying on them both on and off the floor is second year head coach Tim Fusina. He is proud of the growth he has seen out of Cole and Ferreira, both in their playing ability and on the leadership side of things.
“These two have been great in establishing the new culture with our program,” said Fusina. “They are hard workers, competitive and coachable. You can talk to them or show them film of what they need to do better and they go and try to improve. Most of all, they are good people. They have high character both on and off the court and care about their teammates.”
With their leadership on and off the floor, both Cole and Ferreira have showcased that they are more than capable of both leading a team, encouraging each other and their younger teammates along the way.
“I feel like it’s kind of been our team the last two years and we have really led the team and hopefully established some precedent going forward in the future,” said Cole. “Me and Kyle have to set a standard out there every time we step on the floor. We want to show our teammates how you have to play hard, this is how you have to attack and be aggressive, stuff like that. Then hopefully, it can help the other teammates buy into that and then feed off of that energy.”
In terms of setting a standard of how to act receptive, Coach Fusina believes that even though they each scored 1,000 points this season, their impact goes beyond that. They are helping make the program better as a whole.
“What I am impressed with most with both Kyle and Austin is that they have accepted every single challenge they have had set in front of them,” said Fusina. “They compete every day and make the people around them better. I believe our program is in a far better place now than it was when I got here. We have a plan that will allow us to compete and sustain that competitiveness on a yearly basis. Kyle and Austin have helped establish this.”
Moving forward and with only a few games left, both Cole and Ferreira plan to give the rest of the season everything they have and hope that in the end they can leave behind a legacy to be followed for years to come.
“We have just laid the stepping stones for what it takes to be successful,” Ferreira said. “I think everyone knows that we’ve put the work in to accomplish. We have layed the ground rules for what it takes to be successful and hopefully that can rub off on some of the younger guys.”
As a whole, over their careers, one thing is for sure, their time as a Kingsmen has been something to remember, and has meant something more than just playing a game or scoring 1,000 points.
“It means everything,” Cole said. “I came to this school also for academics, but a big part of the reason was for basketball. I have spent a lot of time here at Cal Lutheran, in the gym or in the weightroom with the team working out, so it has shaped my whole college experience and I would not want to do it any other way. I wanted to keep playing basketball in college and they gave me the opportunity and I have really enjoyed it and cherished it.”
For Ferreira, Cal Lutheran not only gave him the opportunity to continue to play basketball, but it gave him a place to call home as well.
“I moved around a little bit prior to coming here, so getting to Cal Lutheran was finally finding a home for me. I am so thankful that I was able to come here and get the opportunity to play. It has been an amazing three years, especially be around my teammates. We have great guys on our team, we have built relationships, and it has been a great home for me.”
Over their three years together, there is no doubt that Cole and Ferreira have impacted the Kingsmen Basketball program. They shaped it for the better, leading their teammates along the way, making milestones and setting history.
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Release by Alexa Barnes, Sports Information Assistant