San Diego Mesa College is proud to announce freshman Aren Thomas (Dekaney HS) and freshman Yusra Gharram (Mission Bay HS) have been named PCAC December Athletes of the Month.
Gharram, a freshman majoring in computer engineering has been a force for the Mesa women's basketball team averaging 16.5 points per game in December. She is also averaging 15.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Gharram currently leads the Olympians in scoring, rebounds, and blocked shots.
"She's a big presence on the court," states women's basketball coach Dorchella James. "We have been teaching her new moves inside the paint to compliment her outside shooting. She has all the talent in the world, and if she is able to become more confident in the low post, she will be unstoppable."
After graduating high school in 2014, Gharram joined the military and did not play basketball for five years. "I was away from the game for so long that it's taking a little time to figure out my role on this team. In addition to adjusting back to civilian life, I am now a student-athlete and that presents new challenges."
"The coaching staff has been great," adds Gharram. "I am thankful for this award. It is definitely eye opening and proves that I can compete at this level."
Thomas, a freshman business major out of Dekaney High School in Texas has been the most consistent player on the men's basketball team. Thomas is averaging 16.3 points per game in December, with 20-or more points in 4 out of the last 10 games.
"Aren has been solid for us the whole season because he is a scoring point guard who has the ability to shoot the set shot or take you off the dribble," states head coach Travis Nichols. "He plays the game with such ease and that will frustrate any opponent. He is a tough-minded guard that makes our team go."
One of the biggest surprises about Aren's game is his speed. He has an uncanny ability to dribble and penetrate against defenders which makes it difficult for opponents to press the team. The coaching staff has also noticed the improvement in his defense.
"First, I would like to give thanks to God and my coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play," states Thomas. "Being named player of the month means a lot to me, it shows that hard work truly does pay off."
Thomas credits coach Nichols system in allowing him to play his style of game. He has been given the green light to create shots for himself, but also has the responsibility of making sure his teammates are involved. In December, Thomas lead the team with 41 assists.