By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs added another Big 5 MVP to their roster on Wednesday night, with the news that Del Norte’s Omar Banuelos will play men’s basketball at College of the Redwoods next season.
Banuelos, who led the Warriors to a Big 5 and Dick Niclai double this past season, has committed to join the Redwoods revolution, and should make a good Corsairs team better.
After going winless a year ago, the CR men finished 22-6 this year, and Banuelos’ addition gives a surging program an additional boost.
“What a big day for us,” CR head coach Ryan Bisio said. “What a career he had at Del Norte. We’ve been following him really his whole career and this is a major addition for our program.”
Banuelos joins a Corsairs team that won the Golden Valley Conference this past season on the way to making it to the Sweet 16 of state play.
And the Del Norte senior is expected to have an immediate impact.
“I love how polished he is at this stage of his development,” Bisio said.
Banuelos is just as effective driving to the basket as he is setting up a teammate or shooting from the perimeter, and is also known for his outstanding defense.
“He can certainly shoot the 3, and that’s something we certainly value,” Bisio said.
With almost all of this year’s players expected back next winter — including the injured EJ Jackson who received a medical red shirt — the Corsairs don’t have a lot of holes to fill this offseason.
Replacing all-state selection Thomas Nelson, however, won’t be easy.
“We need someone that will fill some of that production,” Bisio said. “We’re just trying to accrue the best players we can.”
Hoopa’s Blake Rossman, another local standout who played for the Corsairs this past season, will join the coaching staff for next year.
Banuelos joins a CR roster loaded with local talent, including the Fortuna fab four of Zac Claus, Drew Gillette and Bradley and Donald Willis, as well as McKinleyville’s Isaac Puzz and Anthony Stubbs.