Patience and Perseverance

by staff May 23, 2018

Gavilan College – On Wednesday, two days before the semester ends for Gavilan College, Ken Modica Jr signed his letter of intent to continue his education and basketball career at Simpson University in Redding. To move on to play at the four-year level is a feat for anyone. For Modica, a computer science major from Baton Rouge Louisiana, it was a bigger journey than most people realize.

After graduating high school Modica began classes at a community college in Louisiana. After taking a few classed he got the itch to continue playing basketball. So, after looking at options he decides to come out to California to attend College of Marin to play basketball. He along with several other out of state recruits are move into an apartment in San Rafael that was arraigned by his coach and begin attending classing and playing for the basketball team. Everything seemed to be going well for Modica and the team. They were loaded with talent, which lead to a lot of wins early in the season.

While this is going on, Modica was going to school, passing his classes and paying his rent on time just like he was told to by his coach. Then the team’s season and Modica’s playing career came to an abrupt stop. An investigation into the basketball program at College of Marin found multiple violations of the CCCAA constitution. Among the many things which came to light from the investigation included the fact that the basketball players in the apartment were receiving financial assistance to pay for their rent or were paying below market rates where the difference was being paid by people with ties to the basketball coach. This included Modica, who was unaware that what he was doing was breaking the rules. He and his family were simply paying the amount his coach told him he had to pay. As a result of these and other violations, the team lost any chance of playing in a post season, and all of the players in the apartment were ruled ineligible to play at the school or any other community college in California. They could continue their education at any of the CCCAA institutions if they decided to do so. Which left many of the players looking for somewhere else to go. However, after talking it over with his family, Modica decided to stay in California and see what options if any would come his way.

After a chance to play at one college fell through, he came into contact with the newly named head coach of Gavilan College, Dallas Jensen. After a visit to the campus he heard what the coach had to say, plans he had that could make it possible to allow Modica to have a second chance to continue his playing career. So, his next move was to move to Gilroy and enroll at Gavilan College. Meanwhile Coach Jensen as well as Director of Athletics, Ron Hannon looked over his case and began the appeal process that could lead to his playing ban being over turned by the CCCAA.  The appeal was based on the fact that Modica was paying the amount he was told by the people in charge of the program; the head coach and that he and his family were not aware that the amount being paid was not enough to cover the rent. There was no reason to think otherwise. The appeal was approved, which meant Modica was now able to become a member of the Rams basketball team.

This is the part of the story where good things begin to happen. As we now know, Modica along with his new teammates would go on to have a record-breaking 

Modica with the Slam dunk

season, winning the schools first title in over 40 years and wining it’s first post season game in over 20 years. For Modica himself, after a bit of struggle early on in the season, averaged 5.5 points a game shooting 54.4% from the field while taking in 6 rebounds a game. But when his team needed him the most, he came through with his best effort down the stretch. In the last game of the regular season, he made the most of his minutes in the second half helping the team come up with timely defensive stops while grabbing 7 rebounds and scoring twice.

Then in the first home post season match for the program in over twenty years, Modica was called upon after his teammates found themselves in foul trouble. He pitched in 7 points to go along with his team high 18 rebounds and 2 blocks as he controlled the paint keeping Modesto out of the lane on the way to a 67-63 victory. A week later against Fresno City College he had is best game of the season scoring 16 points and hauling in 11 rebounds in the loss.

 It was his effort when his team’s biggest games that which helped him get noticed by several four-year college programs. After a few visits and many conversations, he came to a decision on where the next step of his journey will take him. It might have taken more patience and perseverance than he might have originally thought it would take when he first came out to California.  He can now say however, that he made the most of what he could out of his second chance that Gavilan helped created for him. And with that second chance, he will be attending Simpson University on an athletic scholarship.