Freshman shooting guard Jermaine Edmonds Jr. is proving a quick study at Diablo Valley College.
A former Salesian High standout and ex-teammate of Cal's Jabari Bird, Edmonds is averaging 15.2 points a game and has major college potential.
Moreover, Edmonds' team-first mindset, also a trademark on powerhouse Salesian squads, suits Diablo Valley coach Steve Coccimiglio just fine.
"For a freshman, he has shown a lot of maturity," Coccimiglio said. "Our guard play has been really solid with returner Connor Jean, a kid from Northgate, and Justin Yeargin, who went to Bishop O'Dowd and transferred from Cal State Northridge."
The Vikings (12-3), ranked No. 4 in the state, had a five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday with a 72-64 loss to No. 14-ranked Cosumnes River in their Big 8 Conference opener. The Hawks and Vikings are considered prime contenders for the Big 8 title.
Coccimiglio's system seems like a great fit for the athletic, 6-foot-5 Edmonds. The Vikings' high-energy, suffocating defense is something he can carry in his hip pocket to the next level.
"He's a real fiery coach, but he knows what he's talking about," Edmonds said of Coccimiglio. "When he sees something on the court and he tells us, we got to listen to it, because most of the time he sees the right thing. He knows what he wants out of us."
After falling twice to Ohlone this season, Diablo Valley turned the tables on the Renegades 80-60 in the West Valley tournament championship. The Vikings next routed Shasta 99-59, when Edmonds had a game-high 22, and beat Skyline 76-64 on Dec. 30.
"We're starting to hit our stride," Edmonds said. "We just got to fix a couple lapses that we have on the defensive end. ... I have to be more intense and more alert on the defensive end because I contribute to the lapses sometimes."
The deep Vikings squad has just three freshmen, including Joe McNiff of De La Salle and Eric Ellis of Bentley. Captain Devon Pouncey of Rodriguez-Fairfield is a leader/force at power forward. Starting center Tom Witzel is out after suffering a stress fracture in his foot and probably won't return until late January. John Ocon has played well in his absence.
Edmonds was part of a special senior class at Salesian, which also included Bird and Freddie Tagaloa. In Edmonds' swan song, the Pride finished 30-4 and advanced to the 2013 Northern California Open Division semifinals. The previous year, Salesian won the Division IV state championship with a win over Price-Los Angeles, as Edmonds came off the bench to score 10 points. Bird had 24 points.
"That was fun," Edmonds said of his Salesian days. "We all knew each other pretty well, and we were all really close."
MILLARD TABBED FOR SHOWCASES: Cal Poly linebacker Johnny Millard, a Foothill graduate, has been selected to play in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl All-Star game Saturday in Charleston, S.C. Millard will also compete in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
BOWLED OVER: Former Laney College star punter Jed Barnett helped Oklahoma upend Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, punting six times for a 42.3 yard average and a long of 56. Ex-Chabot defensive lineman Jaryl Mamea made a tackle in Central Florida's win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.
CAL STATE EAST BAY REPORT: Cal State East Bay's Danielle Peacon was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Basketball Player of the Week (Dec. 30-Jan. 5). Peacon helped the Pioneers down Cal Poly Pomona and Humboldt State, averaging 16.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots per game. The Pioneers men's team (6-6, 3-3) rebounded from back-to-back losses to beat Humboldt State 89-81 on Jan. 4. Senior Gabe Kindred led the way with 24 points. Mark Samuels had 17 points and eight assists.
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