While most students and the entire city of Charlotte are gearing up for parties during the CIAA, Johnson C. Smith senior Brian Mobley is focused on one thing. Well, two, really: his school work and winning again.
Mobley is one of the stars of the Golden Bulls basketball team -- the defending CIAA champions. Winning a third championship would put them in elite company in the league, and that's what Mobley and head coach Stephen Joyner are hoping to do this month.
"We'd make history winning three straight," Mobley said. "To win the CI three years straight is very big for the school and for our name."
And when JCSU makes it into the championship game, the city benefits, said CIAA commissioner Leon Kerry. "We don't want them to go early," said Kerry. "It's good for business."
Joyner knows that a "three-peat" isn't going to be easy.
"We've been up and down. We're somewhere between a C+ and a B-," Joyner said of his team. "We've had a critical hang-on injury with James Dillard [senior forward, voted pre-season All-CIAA first team] and it hurt some of our ability to come together as the starting five. But I'm hoping we can come together and be good, strong, and mentally and physically healthy when we get down to the tournament."
And, Joyner said, efforts by the league to get more people watching the games -- such as hosting celebrity performances between matches -- have paid off, and he's looking forward to seeing that trend continue.
"The most important aspect of the CIAA tournament is the basketball. All those things that come along on the outside are just fun things to do, but basketball is what's driving it," said Joyner. "And if you don't believe that, drop basketball and see who comes to the tournament."
For information about all the B-ball contests, visit www.ciaatournament.org.