The non- scholarship players hail from some tough neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn and commute to school by subway. The Berkeley Knights team hasn’t lost since its opening game of the 2015- 16 season.Their drive to succeed on the basketball court extends to the classroom, where players are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA a half point higher than the SCAA’s requirement.
The team has achieved numerous national honors this year including USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball – National Coach of the Year for Coach Chris Christiansen who is also the team’s business professor. On Saturday, March 4, the Berkeley Knights brought home the 20 16-17 USCAA Men’s Division II National Championship – after a hard-fought 40 minutes, the Knights defeated PSU York 80-76 in overtime.
This win marks a historical season with an unblemished record of 29-0, a 53-game winning streak and the programs 3rd Consecutive Championship.
A FATHER FIGURE
Coach Chris Christiansen is a father figure on the basketball court and an inspiration in the classroom, where he is the assistant chairman for Berkeley’s management department and has been named facility member of the year.
All 16 Knights players are pursuing degrees in Christiansen’ s department.
“The 53- game winning streak and this year’s National Championship are crucial factors of our legacy at Berkeley and Berkeley’s history. Not only have we been able to put Berkeley basketball on the map, we have done it in a remarkable fashion. These accomplishments are simply a translation of the team’s uncanny work ethic, togetherness, and dedication.”
“If there’s one thing that this winning mindset and the coaches have taught me is that I must always prepare. We win because we constantly and continuously prepare for our opponents. I will be taking the same approach to life, and a lot of success will be built of that.”
Jeffrey Mejia, Co-Captain, is in his fourth and final season for the Berkeley College men’s basketball team. He has been a member of two USCAA Division II National championship squads as well as a pair of Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.
Mr. Mejia is a Bronx, NY, scholar-athlete with a 3.4 grade-point average who received a scholarship from the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He expects to graduate in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He currently is managing his commitment to academic scholarship while participating in a required internship, working, as well as basketball practice. He also volunteers, coaches and mentors at the Manhattan Bible Church Youth group in upper Manhattan.
Starting point guard Jeffrey Mejia, 20, is Berkeley’s starting point guard and a team co-captain. Mejia lived in a Bronx homeless shelter with his mother and sisters as a teenager. Today, he maintains a 3.4 GPA and recently received a $2,000 usd academic scholarship from the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, accompanied at the ceremony by his coach. For the Silo, Carrie Butler.