Bay Valley Conference Preview

The last five seasons, the Bay Valley Conference has been dominated by Yuba College. The 49ers have been at the top of the conference as Yuba has been the cream of the crop and a top program in the state. In the 2019-2020 season, the last full season in California junior college basketball, the Bay Valley Conference sent 4 teams to the post season. Yuba, Mendocino, Los Medanos and Alameda all made the post season and the conference had two teams that were within one game of making an Elite Eight appearance. This upcoming season, the conference has appeared to improve and the under rated conference in Northern California should be a competitive race in the 2021-2022 season.

Bay Valley Conference 2021-2022 Preview

Yuba (24-6, 14-2): After finishing atop the Bay Valley Conference in 2019-2020, Yuba College will look for their fifth straight conference championship. The 49ers have a 60-4 combined conference record since the 2016-2017 season. The Marysville school will come into the new year as the favorites of the conference located in Northern California. In 2019-2020, Yuba was one game away from making the Elite Eight but fell to College of the Sequoias at home 71-69.

Coming into the new season, the 49ers return 5 key players off of their Bay Valley Conference championship team. Leading the list of returnees is all conference sophomore point guard Jacob Henry. The “5-9” point guard averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 assists for the 49ers as a freshman. “6-8” Chris Aibuedefe returns and will add size to the front court as the sophomore averaged 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds. “6-6” Justice Cole, “6-5” Jordan Bryant, and “6-8” freshman Konner Baroni will add size to the front court for the 49ers. As for the newcomers, “6-8” R.J Smith a transfer from Midland CC and “6-9” Snow College transfer Jonah Roth will add some more size to the 49ers. “6-5” Allan Spoonhunter and “5-8” Darius Kendall both look to contribute as freshmen for Yuba. The size will be a factor for Yuba as 4 players are “6-8” and above and until someone knocks off the 49ers how can they not be picked at the top of the conference coming into the 2021-2022 season.

Mendocino (21-9, 11-5): The Eagles will look to be a contender atop the Bay Valley Conference after winning 21 games in the 2019-2020 season. Coach Billy Offill and company will most likely to compete for a conference championship after Mendocino came within one game of making the Elite Eight as the Eagles suffered a loss against Fresno City in the round of 16.

The Eagles return one of the best players in the state in LJ Hallumus. The “6-2” sophomore averaged 21.2 points and 7.8 rebounds, and shot 56% from the floor in 2019-2020. Hallumus had a 36 point, 15 rebound effort against Fresno and put up 33 points and 8 rebounds against Sequoias. The underrecruited sophomore will look to have another big season and is a candidate for player of the year in the conference. “6-7” Shafee Mumin returns to the Eagles and will add size to the front court. “6-0” Marcus Neal will add depth to the back court as the guard is a transfer from Bluefield State University. “6-0” Trey Conrad comes in from Santa Rosa Junior College and Jermaine Brown will be another sophomore that will add depth to the Eagles. “6-3” Brandon Macharia (Maria Carrillo HS), “6-0” Imanuel Jones (Compass Prep), “6-0” Donniel Johnson (Oakland Tech), and “6-6” Nathan Behr (Gallitin Valley HS) will be four freshmen that will look to contribute for Mendocino. As the 2021-2022 season comes closer we expect the Eagles to be a team that should make a playoff push and be near the top of the standings in the Bay Valley Conference.  

Merritt (6-22, 3-13): The Thunderbirds will be a much improved team coming into the new season after winning 6 games in the 2019-2020 season. Merritt struggled and finished tied for last place and the Thunderbirds did not make the postseason.

Merritt showed an improved team a couple weeks ago at the San Mateo College Jamboree. The Thunderbirds have size and solid guard play which should give them a solid chance to finish in the upper half of the Bay Valley Conference. The Oakland college will put an entire new core on the floor this season and will lack experience but the Thunderbirds have some talent that will make them a much improved team. “6-0” Sherab Nyima will provide sophomore experience as the guard returns after sitting out the 2019-2020 season. In 2018-2019, the guard was an all conference performer as he averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 assists per contest while shooting 43% from downtown. “6-0” Sonoma State transfer DJ Leaks, “6-0” Bryce Wells (Mt. Eden HS), “6-0” Iniko Mcneil (Bishop O’Dowd HS), “6-5” Justin Boateng (transfer Montreat University), “6-0” Eyoel Massay (Bishop O’ dowd HS), and “6-5” Djahi Walker (Skyline HS) will all add depth to the back court. The biggest difference could be in the front court as the Thunderbirds added plenty of height. “6-9” Kaden Pierce (James Logan HS), “6-8” Malik Hopkins (Oakland Tech HS), “6-7” Chokri Bachta (Tunisia), and “6-7” Kymani Ladi will give Merritt some height to the 2021-2022 team. The pieces are in place for improvement and it wont surprise us if the Thunderbirds are playing in the upper half of the conference for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.

Contra Costa (6-22, 3-13): The Comets come into the new season and look to have a better upcoming new year. Last season saw Contra Costa win 6 games and finish tied for last place in the Bay Valley Conference.

Contra Costa returns three players that had experience in a Comets uniform. “6-3” Rasheen Fraizer returns as the guard averaged 8.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in the 2019-2020 season. “6-6” John Wade returns to the squad after the sophomore averaged 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in his freshman campaign. “6-0” Isaiah Thomas will add guard experience as well to the squad for the upcoming season. “6-7” Omari Preston-Jordan will be a newcomer but the sophomore could have the biggest impact. The talented sophomore comes in from Feather River College as a transfer and averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Golden Eagles in 2019-2020. “6-5” Broderick Payne is a talented prospect that will add depth, Max preps sharpshooting Idaho Player of the Year “6-5” Donovan Sanor (Meridan HS) will be another newcomer to watch, “6-3” Jakarri Lindsey (McClymonds HS), “6-3” Seneca Willoughby Balboa Prep), “6-3” Manuel Landen (SCPHS), “6-3” Jordan Lilley, talented “6-9” Yasin Willock (Landen HS) and “6-0” Miles Lewis (Sacramento HS) will also help look to improve the Comets for the upcoming season.

The Comets will look to return to the post season after a disappointing 2019-2020. Coach Johnson is looking to contend for a 2nd Bay Valley Conference title. This will not be an easy task with Mendocino, Yuba, and Merritt looking competitive early. The Comets have a lot of new faces adding to blend in with the returners. Coming off the ARC Jamboree late September, it was evident the talented group will have to work on building team chemistry and learn how to compete as a unit. Currently the roster has 24 players with 18 of those being freshmen. With that being said we expect the Comets to make an improvement and be near the top of the conference coming into the upcoming season.

Los Medanos (20-9, 11-5): The Mustangs will look to build off a 20 win season and 2nd place finish in the Bay Valley Conference. Los Medanos made the post season but suffered a loss against San Joaquin Delta in the 1st round but the Mustangs will look to stay competitive for the upcoming season.

The Mustangs return three key pieces from their 20 win season coming into the 2021-2022 season. All conference guard Zack Martinez returns for his sophomore season. The “6-2” guard averaged 21.4 points and 4.1 assists per game as a freshman. The guard scored 20 or more points 22 times and scored 20 or more points in 15 straight games in 2019-2020. The sharpshooter shot 44% from downtown and will be a candidate for Player of the Year in the Bay Valley Conference. Sophomore guard Jason Holmon returns as well as the “5-8” guard made 120 threes as a freshman and shot a staggering 46% from downtown. Holmon averaged 15.4 points per contest and will add punch to the backcourt for Los Medanos. “6-3” Keeami Maggart will be back for the Mustangs for his second season. The athletic wing averaged 13.5 points and a team high 9.0 rebounds per contest and will be another reason why Los Medanos has a chance to be right back in the thick of things. “6-2” Dera Vixon will add depth the backcourt as the Adams State transfer will be looked upon to play a key role for the Mustangs. “5-7” Alfred Njunge and “5-8” D’Montay Warner are two other newcomers that should contribute this season. Los Medanos returns a solid three pieces with experience which is why there should not be much of a slip up this upcoming season. We expect the Mustangs to be in the upper half of the conference with a good chance to make the post season.

Napa Valley (8-20, 6-10): Napa Valley will look to improve off their 8 win season in the 2019-2020 season. The Storm finished tied for sixth place in the Bay Valley Conference and missed the post season.

Three players return for the Storm for the 2021-2022 season, as two of the three players averaged in double figures in the 2019-2020 season. “6-5” Shakir Howard returns to the Storm as the sophomore averaged 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in his first season. As a freshman, Howard had 7 games with 19 points or more and will look to be a scoring threat this upcoming season. “6-4” Jaivon Williams returns at the point guard position for Napa. In his first season the Tyler, Texas native averaged 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds as a freshman. “6-4” Brian Green will add experience as the returner averaged 3.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in 11 games. “5-11” Chris Thompson (Lufkin HS), “6-1” Albert Dennis (San Jacinto HS), “6-4” Cameron Joseph (Armijo HS), “6-1” Ben Trette (Rodriguez HS), and “5-10” Deontae Jenkins (Vallejo HS) will all be freshmen that will look to contribute for the Storm. Napa Valley should be an improved team as the Storm have two double digit scorers returning to the lineup. The Storm share the ball and play solid defense but will it be enough to push them into the upper half of the conference? We see the Storm being in the middle of the pack as they lack front court size and may struggle rebounding.

Solano (11-17, 6-10): The Falcons come off a season in which they saw the winning side of the scoreboard 11 times. In conference action Solano put together a 6-10 record and the team from Fairfield missed the post season.

The Falcons return two players off a team that won 11 games in the 2019-2020 season. “5-10” Cole Arabian returns to Solano for his sophomore season. Arabian averaged 3.4 points and will bring valuable leadership this season to the Falcons. “6-4” Ricky Holland will return to the Falcons as the sophomore averaged 3.2 points in his freshman campaign. Leading the list of newcomers is “6-3” pick and roll specialist Samuel Lenjik from Slovakia. Lenjik should have an immediate impact for Solano this season. “6-4” Holy Names transfer Syncere Rose, “6-10” Joseph Silveira (San Diego Christian transfer) will add some size to Solano. Other freshmen that could contribute are “6-1” Jacob Ebert (Cornerstone HS), “6-3” Jonathan Cobbs (Vanden HS), and “6-4” Amadou Oury Bah (Morocco). Solano will look to be competitive but lack of size and depth could hurt them. We expect the Falcons to finish in the middle of the pack in the Bay Valley Conference this upcoming season.

Alameda (18-12, 10-6): The Cougars come off a season which saw Alameda win 18 games and finish in 4th place in the Bay Valley Conference. Alameda made the post season, picked up a playoff win over San Mateo before losing to Columbia in the 2nd round of the post season.

The 2021-2022 team will have a different look this upcoming season. The biggest change is the new face on the sidelines as Ravi Bhambhra has taken over the head coaching position for the Cougars. Bhambhra has experience on the sidelines as the newly hired head coach was an assistant coach at Northern Oklahoma and also at state powerhouse City College of San Francisco. The Cougars return one player off last seasons team as “6-4” Treyvon Watson returns to the squad. Watson averaged 5.8 points per contest in his freshman campaign. It will be a completely new squad as “6-3” Jase Brock, “6-5” Mar’ya Taylor, “6-3” Jordan Washington and “6-5” Feather River transfer Jacoby Simon will look to provide sophomore experience. Simon averaged 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for Feather River College in 2018-2019. “6-4” Xaiver Brown, “6-0” Tayvon Fisher, “5-10” Michael Flores and Michael Green are freshmen that could contribute throughout the season. It could be a tough season for the Cougars as Bhambhra was hired after school started but we expect Alameda to compete as the season unfolds.