By Ray Hamill — The College of the Redwoods men’s basketball team will discover its playoff seed on Monday around noon, but contrary to earlier reports coming out of the school the Corsairs are not guaranteed a home playoff game.
Their opening round game will be played on either Friday or Saturday, and the team expects it to be at home.
“I still feel confident we’re going to get it,” head coach Ryan Bisio said. “For me, it’s more about the matchup than the number. Every matchup is going to be daunting and difficult for every team.”
The top eight seeds in NorCal will each play at home in the opening round of the tournament, and Bisio is expecting to be in the six-to-eight range, with a top-five seed a possibility.
A home playoff game — or two, if the women can also get a top-eight seed — would be nothing less than the Corsairs deserve after such an exhilarating season that has captivated the North Coast basketball community, which has packed the gym for every home game.
Nelson named all-state
The accolades are piling up for CR’s Thomas Nelson and his teammates.
On Saturday, Nelson was named MVP of the Golden Valley Conference and to the all-state first team.
It comes as no surprise after such a sensational sophomore season.
“Once we got in the room you could feel how unanimous it was,” said Bisio, who was also named GVC Coach of the Year. “I couldn’t be happier for him.”
The former Arcata Tiger is one of just 10 players from NorCal named to the all-state team, which Bisio describes as “elite, elite company.”
Nelson has yet to announce where he will play next year and for now is focused entirely on this season.
“He’s dedicated to making this run go as far as it can,” Bisio said. “He’s really in the moment right now.”
As the accolades pile up, Nelson will continue to attract interest from top programs at the next level.
Fortuna contingent dominate all-GVC team
In addition to Nelson being named conference MVP, three of his teammates were named to the all-GVC first team.
“Three of the starting five on the all-league team,” Bisio said. “That’s just wow!”
The four former Fortuna players to join the program this season each were honored.
Drew Gillette, Zac Claus and Donald Willis were named to the all-GVC first team, while Bradley Willis was given an honorable mention and was named to the conference all-defensive team.
“I don’t think Drew was very far off being MVP of the league with the type of season he had,” Bisio said.
Donald Willis also has adapted quickly to the collegiate game, and has been one of the team’s best all-around and most versatile players.
“For Donald to be recognized is very special, and I think it was deserved,” Bisio said.
Claus, who was also an exceptional football player in high school, is one of the more unique players in community college basketball, according to his coach.
“He breaks every mold,” Bisio said “He does so many things with such unique creativity, in such a unique frame, and with such a high IQ.”
Bradley Willis’ defense, meanwhile, has been key to the Corsairs’ big run this year.
“Our collective defense usually starts with Bradley’s matchup,” the head coach said. “He gets the toughest opponent every night and he makes it look easy.”