SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With the 2013-14 season underway, and practice officially beginning this past week, Cosumnes River head men’s basketball coach James Giacomazzi released the team’s roster earlier today.

The 2013-14 Cosumnes River men’s basketball team returns three players from last season’s roster.  However, all played key roles on the 2012-13 team, and will provide the team with valuable veteran leadership.  The team also returns one redshirt who will look to make an impact this season.

This year’s CRC team has large shoes to fill as the team lost its leading scorer in All-State, and All-Big 8 performer, Charles Standifer.  Standifer signed a full-athletic scholarship with UC Riverside, providing the Hawks with their fifth NCAA Division I transfer in four years.  Standifer was the state’s fourth-highest scorer this past season, averaging 20.9 points per contest, leading the Hawks in offense.  He also was the team’s second-leading rebounder, with over 6.7 rebounds per contest, and led in a number of other statistical categories.  The team also saw veteran forward, and fan favorite, Orion Kidd sign a scholarship as well.  Kidd will play this season at Greenville College in Illinois.

To fill the void left by these two players, Cosumnes River will lean heavily on the team’s sophomores this season.  Included in that list are three returners from last season, one redshirt, and one NJCAA transfer.  Leading this group will be returning forward Jaycob Velasco (pictured right), a 6-7 post out of Pleasant Valley High School in Chico.  Velasco appeared in 27 games last season, starting every one, and averaged 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest.  He was second on the team in points and first on the team in rebounding, while playing his way to All-Big 8 honorable mention recognition as a freshman.  Velasco will be a major factor in the team’s frontcourt this season, having recorded six double-doubles as a freshman, and continuing to serve as one of the team’s most dangerous perimeter threats.

Also returning to the Hawks will be two starters from last year’s backcourt, in Rodney Cook and Brenden Glapion.  Cook, a 5-11 guard from Bethel High School in Vallejo, appeared in all 29 games last season as the team’s starting point guard.  He averaged 8.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, as well as 4.3 assists as a true freshman.  A former high school quarterback, Cook will once again look to play a role in getting the team into its offense this season.  Also returning to the team’s backcourt will be sophomore Brenden Glapion.  Glapion, a native of San Francisco, transferred to CRC from Seattle University a year ago.  Glapion appeared in 28 games last season for the Hawks, starting the team’s final 17 contests.  Glapion got off to a slow start last season due to a back injury, but saw his playing time increase as the season went along, becoming the team’s most consistent perimeter defender.  Glapion was also the recipient of the CRC Scholar-Athlete award, finishing the year with a 4.0 grade point average.

A pair of sophomore-transfers will make their debuts with the Hawks this season.  Guard AJ Bridges, a former standout point guard from nearby Monterey Trail High School, is coming off a redshirt season after transferring from Fresno City College.  Bridges looks to improve from his freshman season, one where he led Fresno City to a conference championship en route to CVC All-defensive first-team honors, leading the Rams in both assists and steals.  Also joining the Hawks this year is NJCAA transfer forward TJ Williams.  Williams, a 6-5 forward out of Tracy High School, comes to the Hawks via Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.  Williams appeared in 19 contests as a true freshman, following a standout high school career where Williams earned a Cal-Hi Sports All-State nomination.  Both players have made an impact over the preseason, and look to factor heavily in the team’s rotation this season.

Joining these sophomores will be a standout group of freshman, as CRC boasts one of its best recruiting classes in years.  Heading to CRC for the 2013-14 season will be 6-9 forward Daiveon Leverett out of Weston Ranch High School in Stockton.  Leverett was a nationally-ranked prospect who led his team to three-straight Northern California regional state playoff appearances.  The freshman also has an impressive club team resume, participating with the Nike-sponsored Oakland Soldiers in the EYBL, helping the Soldiers take the 2012 Peach Jam Classic Championship. 

Also joining the Hawks this season is All-State guard Andrew Johnson out of Nevada.  Johnson, a two-time All-State selection and ESPN pre-season All-State selection, led Hug High School of Reno to a 24-4 record and an appearance in the Nevada State Championship game against national power Bishop Gorman as a senior.  Johnson averaged 17.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game as a senior in 2011-12 en route to earning a number of postseason accolades, including All-North 4A MVP honors.

Joining Leverett and Johnson is a standout class of prospects who look to propel the Hawks to the top of the Big 8 conference.  Playing alongside Leverett in the frontcourt will be a pair of local post prospects who put together stellar senior seasons last year.  Semir Cahtarevic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a 6-7 post player who saw time as a point forward at Del Campo High School last season.  Cahtarevic was a two-time All-Capital Valley Conference selection, who was also named to the 2013 Sacramento Optimist All-Star Game.  He averaged 12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per contest, leading Del Campo the second-round of the Sac-Joaquin section playoffs as a senior.  Joining Cahtarevic will be David Straughter from nearby Luther Burbank High School.  Straughter, a 6-5 forward, was a four-time letter winner for the Titans who earned a Cal-Hi Sports All-State nomination as a senior.  He averaged 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, stuffing the stat sheet while earning 2013 Metro League Co-Most Valuable Player.

In addition to Johnson, the Cosumnes River backcourt will feature three freshmen who will look to solidify the one, two and three positions for Hawks this year.  Joining Johnson will be 6-3 guard Joe Barnes out of Sacramento High School.  Barnes, who averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a senior last year, earned many postseason accolades including All-Metro honorable mention honors from the Sacramento Bee.  Barnes was also an All-State nominee, as well as being named Sacramento Optimist All-Star Game MVP following a 24 point performance.  He was named All-State as a freshman following a year where he averaged 15.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game at Florin High School.

Joining Barnes will be a pair of guards coming to CRC from prep schools on the East coast.  Nelson Gonzalez, a 5-11 guard from Boston, comes to CRC following a post-graduate year at Rise Academy in Philadelphia.  Prior to playing at Rise, Gonzalez was a 1000-point scorer at Shenandoah Valley Academy in New Market, Virginia.   He averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game as a senior, serving as the team’s starting point guard.  Mitchell Love, a 6-2 Sacramento native who played a post-graduate year at St. Ignatios Prep in South Carolina, also joins the Hawks for the 2013-14 season.  Prior to heading back East, Love was a standout combo guard at Luther Burbank High School, where he led the team to the section playoffs his senior year.  Love was also named All-Metro league in addition to earning an appearance in the 2012 Sacramento Optimist All-Star game.  Both guards have been performing well this preseason, and will look to become immediate contributors for the Hawks during the 2013-14 campaign.

The Cosumnes River Hawks will make their 2013-14 debut against Lassen CC at the San Jose City College tournament on November 7th.  The tournament runs through the 9th.  The Hawks will then return to Sacramento to make their home debut at the James Clark Classic on Clark Court at Cosumnes River College.  They’ll open that tournament against Columbia College of Sonora on November 21st.