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Legends of Hoops Night Draws Big Crowd

Legends of Hoops Night Draws Big Crowd

Cypress, CA. -- More than 800 people showed up for Legends of Hoops night at Cypress College last Friday night. The atmosphere in Gym II was electric begining in the late afternoon as the crowd began to pour in and waited impatiently for the tip-off of the women's game at 5:30

Both the women's and men's basketball teams squared off against OEC rival Santa Ana in thier regular season finales. Thanks to the strong crowd support, the women's team got off to a fast start against Santa Ana and never looked back as they cruised to a 96-68 win, their highest single game point total of the year. 

At halftime of the women's game, Cypress College President, Dr. Robert Simpson and Interim Dean of P.E. and Athletics, Dr. Rick Rams, stood at center court of the basketball floor to welcome down and honor, in a special ceremony, former Cypress basketball legends Swen Nater and Mark Eaton as well as former Cypress head basketball coach, Don Johnson.

The first banners to be unveiled during the ceremony were the baners to honor Nater and Eaton. Nater played at Cypress from 1968-1970 before moving on to play at UCLA and then for a few different teams in the ABA and NBA. Eaton played a decade later at Cypress, from 1978-80 before also moving on to play at UCLA and then being drafted by the Utah Jazz where he played his entire professional career and has already had his jersey retired.

The next banner to be unveiled was new banner with the phrase "Cypress College Basketball: Tough, Smart, Unselfish". The banner replaces another banner with the same phrase that had grown old over the years. The phrase was coined by Johnson and was used to characterize the program during his time at the helm of the Charger men's basketball program from 1966-1994. 

To close off the ceremony a fourth and final banner was also unveiled to honor and celebrate Coach Johnson's time at Cypress College. In addition to showing his stoic image on the banner, so that he can continually watch over Cypress College basketball in the years to come, it lists his impressive win total of 588 games. At the time of his retirement the total was the most victories by any head coach in California Community College history. The banner also pays tribute to his time spent as a player at UCLA in the 1950's when he was selected as the second All-American under another legendary coach, John Wooden, in 1952. More recently in 2013, Coach Johnson was honored by the UCLA athletics department as he was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a player at the school.

The banners will remain in the gym to honor and preserve Cypress College's historic athletic past and to educate future players about the commitment and dedication it takes to become a legendary Charger. 

See the video below:

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