BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — On Thursday, February 16, the 1992-'93 CSUB Men's Basketball Team held a meet and greet at the Icardo Center on the campus of California State University Bakersfield before being inducted into the Kern County Sports Hall of Fame. These are the first athletes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a team.
And it wasn't the first time they'd made history together. During their season, they went 33-0 in Division 2 play, and they're the first college team to go undefeated with that many victories.
Forward Roheen Oats sees the impact of the example his team set on the current athletes.
"It feels great knowing that we impacted all these years and every year after us, because, I mean, it's not easy. Each day is a struggle, and I know these young guys and women that's playing here at Cal State Bakersfield have to live up tot he hype, so to speak, and we created a very high bar," said Oats. "I think that they're definitely challenged, and I like the way they're living up to that challenge."
The '92-'93 Runners averaged 80 points a game, crushing their opponents by a margin of about 14 points a game. The 1993 November 29 issue of Sports Illustrated recognized the team as a powerhouse.
But the accolades didn't eliminate the pressure of each game. CSUB guard Kenny Warren remembers the challenges that came at the end of their season.
"It was really, like, surreal, because it was always pressure. We got to win this game, you know? Like, once you get to 20 and 0 and you lose, it's like 'Ah, man, the wind's out of your sails. You might as well go on a losing streak,' but we just kept winning," said Warren. "Even when it was games when it looked like it was finished, and we would just somehow come together and figure it out."
With March Madness just around the corner, CSUB's current forward Cameron Smith says the '92-'93 team paved the way for his team. Smith hopes to follow in their footsteps and bring another national championship home to Bakersfield.
"It's motivation knowing that they've done it, knowing it can be done, and just try to pick their minds. I'm gonna go talk to them after this and try to get some advice and see what I can do as a leader to this team to help us win a national championship," said Smith.
Smith says he's never been to a March Madness tournament, and he hopes the reassurance and confidence of those who went before him will push his team to get there.
That motivation could come from Warren's own memories of what it felt like to win with his team.
"Nobody wants to go thorough the whole season and lose the last one like Tom Brady did against the Giants. Nobody wants to do that, so when that scoreboard hit zero it was like, thank you God. Like, we were crying because we were happy, and because we finished," said Warren. "We finished with the pressure, and now we can celebrate."
30 years later, the team is celebrating that success once again with their Hall of Fame induction.
"It feels great because it was a team effort. It was no one person, and we all knew that we couldn't win without the other person, and that's the only way we would have it," said Oats. "Just being together."