Men’s basketball freshmen poised to be ‘cornerstones’ of team

Freshman Anthony Giomi shoots a free throw in Chapman’s game against Claremont Mudd-Scripps Jan. 19. Chapman lost 66-57. Photo courtesy of Larry Newman

After a Tuesday night game against the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Beavers, freshmen Daniel Foldes and Anthony Giomi sit in In-N-Out on Chapman Avenue and reminiscing about their first season on the Chapman basketball team over double-doubles and fries.

Despite being new to the team, Giomi’s played in 14 and Foldes has played in 20 of the team’s 22 games this season.

Eventually, the conversation turns to the topic of their first-made college baskets, a benchmark for the two. Foldes got his during a loss to the Linfield College Wildcats.

“We were losing and (our coach) was mad … I rebounded (the ball) and put it up,” Foldes told The Panther. “After that I was like ‘Damn, that’s pretty cool.’”

Giomi’s inaugural points came during the first game of the season Nov. 8 against the Menlo College Oaks.

“I was guarding some 7-foot dude, and the whole time I was (nervous). Then I put up a shot and it went in, and I was like, ‘OK here we go,’” Giomi said. “I was hyped. He probably could’ve eaten me.”

Giomi and Foldes are suitemates in Pralle-Sodaro Hall and are self-described best friends. Giomi, from Seattle, Washington, spent Thanksgiving at Foldes’ house.

Despite their inexperience on a college team, head coach Mike Bokosky said he has high hopes for the two as future cornerstones of the program.

“We’re glad that we have both of them. (They) are really talented … both of them are frontline players,” Bokosky said.

Giomi and Foldes said they were the go-to players for their respective high schools — Giomi for West Seattle High School and Foldes for Newbury Park High School in Thousand Oaks, California. As freshmen, Giomi and Foldes had an adjustment period finding their place on a college roster – a transition Bokosky said many freshman players experience.

“They were the top dog — the best players on their high school team,” Bokosky said. “They get here and they find out … it’s a bit more challenging.”

Both frequently play center for the Panthers, but neither played that position in high school, Giomi said.

“It’s definitely been different trying to learn … It’s been hard, trying to play as a big man in the offense,” Giomi said. “But we practice every day.”

Foldes, in order to grow into his role on the team, has spent time practicing with other ‘bigs’ like sophomore power forward Chandler White and senior center Corwin Feerick.

“The guys actually helped me out a lot with learning about Chapman,” Foldes said. “It’s good to have senior role models or older kids help you … they’ve been through the same thing.”

For Giomi, a big part of the team’s strength is their love and support for one another.

In fact, the team has a couple informal bonding rituals. The first comes on Mondays, when new episodes of “The Bachelor” air. Most of the team lives in a house, and that’s where the live watching takes place. The second ritual, however, comes the very next day.

“We go to Taco Tuesday, every Tuesday at Taco Mesa,” said Giomi. “Taco Tuesday’s big.”

As Giomi and Foldes finish their first year with the team they’ll become more featured players, Bokosky said. With that comes the responsibility of transitioning into their own leadership positions.

“Leading-by-example is (big, but) … making (people) feel comfortable is really big. Especially for freshmen,” Foldes said.