Continuity a boon for Colorado Titans club basketball team

17U group nearing the end of a long tenure together

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Mead’s Trey Ward has been a member of the Colorado Titans for longer than almost anyone in the program. The 17U’s team success this summer has hinged largely on the bond this group has created over the past half-decade.

In the world of club basketball, where players sometimes hop around and play for different teams, continuity can be a difficult thing to achieve.

The Colorado Titans don’t have that problem.

On this year’s 17U roster, the Titans have a rare assortment of local players from the area who play for all different schools but have been playing club ball together for half a decade. With many of them set to graduate and move on to new chapters in their lives, the bond they have formed over years of playing with one another has made this a special summer.

“We’ve just been together for so long and we’ve played against each other for so long, which is really cool,” Fairview rising senior Jalen Page said. “We just have such great chemistry and we know each other so well. This summer is kind of different because all of us know this is the last time most of us will be playing together so we wanted to make this one special.”

Among the longest-tenured players on the team, Page has been in the program for seven years. Tyler Turner, who plays for bitter rival Boulder during the high school season, has also been a Titan for seven club seasons.

Mead’s Trey Ward and Boulder’s Pete Boyle, who is University of Colorado head coach Todd Boyle’s son, have both been Titans for six years. Broomfield’s Grant Swenson has played with the club for five seasons, and Mead’s Will Maher and Resurrection Christian’s Isaac Jessup have for four years. Ralston Valley’s Caden Gigstad has played three seasons, and both Broomfield’s Mark Georgiton and reigning player of the year Owen Koonce of Centaurus have played two seasons.

Despite playing against one another constantly throughout the high school season, the amount of time they have been together during the summer months has built an uncommon sense of camaraderie for the Titans. That also shows itself in their chemistry on the court.

“We really promote family and we’ve embraced that as a culture,”  Titans coach and program director Rick Jimenez said. “We have a lot of siblings in our program but this group, they’re all like brothers. We have a lot of guys who have been in the program for a really long tenure. A big part of it is that they all get along and spend a lot of time together, and it’s not because that’s something we necessarily force on them. They all play for each other and for that to come naturally and easily is sometimes a rare thing.”

Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Fairview rising senior Jalen Page has combined to several area athletes to help the Colorado Titans 17U team to several tournament championship games this summer.

So far this summer, the Titans went 4-1 at the Prep Hoops tournament in Denver and reached the finals at a large tournament in Portland, Ore., but missed the championship game because they had to catch a flight back to Colorado. They won the Prep Hoops tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., and reached the semifinals at a tournament in Boise, Idaho. After winning the Premier Summer Showcase in Seattle, Wash., the Titans just took second palace at a tournament in Las Vegas this past weekend. They entered the tournament with a 25-3 record on the season.

The Titans have had a good run this summer and with one more tournament left on the schedule, they’ll be looking to make the most of their remaining time together.

“When we first started playing six years ago, we knew we were going to be special,” Ward said. “As we got bigger and stronger, it really started to come together especially on the defensive end. You could really see it at practice right away and it’s just gotten better and better over the years. It really got emotional this last trip because it was pretty much our last time together. We’re all going to go on and do our own individual things but this team will always stick with us.”