Anieus Medrano BC basketball

Liberty graduate Anieus Medrano has developed into a 3-point specialist for the Bakersfield College men's basketball team.

Hardly anyone in California takes more 3-pointers than Bakersfield College guard Anieus Medrano. His 152 attempts through 17 games this season were second most in the state as of Friday.

And that’s exactly what BC head coach Rich Hughes wants.

“That’s his strength shooting the 3,” Hughes said.

In his sophomore season, Medrano has developed into the Renegades’ 3-point specialist. The Liberty graduate is 52-for-152 behind the arc, leading BC in 3s made and attempted. He’s second on the team with 15 points per game. Almost 65 percent of the shots Medrano takes are 3-pointers.

“He’s a really good scorer,” BC sophomore guard Marcus Jones said. “To me, he’s one of the top shooters in junior college basketball. He can hit any shot from anywhere. You just get him the ball and he will.”

Coming out of high school, Medrano was a BVarsity All-Area first teamer and Liberty’s all-time leading scorer with 2,089 points. He shot 3-pointers plenty but standing just 5 feet, 11 inches tall, Medrano needed to adjust his game for the bigger players at the junior college level.

The pullups and shots in the lane weren’t as viable of options at BC.

Medrano’s best shots, according to Hughes, come in transition. He heads to the corner or any open space behind the 3-point line. It means sometimes Medrano will take quick 3s that some coaches might not think are the best shot. But he makes it, Hughes added.

“If I’m open, I’m gonna shoot it,” Medrano said.

When Medrano hits his first two or three 3-pointers early in a game, he knows he’ll be on that night. Hughes describes Medrano’s play as “feast or famine.”

Medrano’s best game of the season came against LA Valley in December. He made seven of his 15 3-pointers, leading the Renegades to an overtime win with a career-high 30 points. When the two teams met again a month later, Medrano made 5 3s for 22 points and another win.

LA Valley was even playing man-to-man against Medrano and not letting that defender come off at all to play help defense on anyone else.

“We knew to really utilize him best we’d have to get the tempo going so that he could get shots on the run and things like that,” Hughes said. “The faster we play, the more chance of him getting open.”

The only player in the state with more attempted 3-pointers than Medrano was Santa Rosa’s Ryan Perez, who had 157 as of Friday.

Medrano wants to be shooting 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range. He’s at 37 and 34.2 percent, respectively. Hughes would “love” to see 40 percent.

The next step, Hughes thinks, is moving Medrano’s game past just 3-point shots. When Medrano’s shooting is off, Hughes still wants his guard to be able to impact the game.

“We’re trying to convince and really stay on him about if you’re not hitting shots you can still contribute,” Hughes said. “You contribute with penetration and making people draw to you and kick it or contribute on the defensive end with rebounds, guarding people.

“So I think sometimes maybe he just thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do (shooting 3s). It is a big role for him, but he can do other things for us. And we need him to do other things.”

Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter: @jmettus.

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