THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Corey Quintana needed a break from basketball.
The 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward was worn down physically and mentally after completing his career at Ventura High.
Quintana spent last year just taking classes at Ventura College.
But after a few months of rest and recovery, Quintana was ready to get back in the game.
He called Cal Lutheran men's basketball coach Rich Rider and asked if Rider still had room for him on the team.
Rider welcomed the big man with open arms, and Quintana hasn't disappointed.
He scored a career-high 17 points Saturday night to help lead CLU to a 53-51 victory over Occidental.
"I started to really miss that competitiveness and the whole nature of being on a team, so it's been really fun to be playing again," Quintana said. "There has definitely been a big learning curve from high school to college, but the team has been great. The guys are really nice and friendly. I can't complain about anything."
Quintana has no regrets about stepping away from the game for a few months to refresh his mind and body.
"I kind of got burned out in high school playing basketball. I had been playing nonstop since the sixth grade, so once I graduated, I kind of wanted to just relax and have some time to do what I wanted," he said. "It was really good to take that break and take that time to recover. I had bruises all over and bad knees and ankles that needed to heal."
The bumps and bruises have returned, but Quintana doesn't mind. He is willing to perform any task necessary for the Kingsmen (6-7, 2-2).
"They want me playing more like a bruiser in the center. They want me to do all the rebounding and the low-post offense things," said Quintana, who is averaging 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. "But it's also great because they like me to step outside and shoot it when I'm open, which is always been a strong point for me in high school and one of the reasons they recruited me."
Quintana was drawn to CLU for more than just basketball.
"It had everything I needed for classes and that was definitely a big reason to come here," said Quintana, an exercise science major. "I definitely need to be a student-athlete, and this was a great school for what I want to do in the future."
Quintana's four years of eligibility are a big boost for a young team striving to develop into a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title contender.
"We have already grown a lot as a team from the beginning of the year," Quintana said. "I feel like we are progressing and heading in the right direction. The goal now is to have a strong finish for the rest of the season."