As we head into summer there’s still plenty of questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as it relates to high school, college and professional athletics.
But while the when is still yet to be determined, a few local boys basketball players have answered the where in the past week.
Former local standouts Kadar Waller and Kameron Burris-Garofalo headline that list.
Waller, who averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals last year at Mt. Zion Academy, a prep school based in Baltimore, committed to play at Collin Community College in Plano, Texas, next year.
“It was the best for me with the way I play and everything,” said Waller, who feels his recruiting was limited by the coronavirus shutdown. “They had a good relationship with my past coaches and they knew what I could do.”
The former BVarsity All-Area player at Liberty and Bakersfield Christian high schools, says he had considerable interest from colleges this season, but many of those opportunities dried up when the coronavirus pandemic limited the school's recruiting opportunities.
With that in mind, Waller opted to take the junior college route in the hopes of rekindling interest among NCAA Division I colleges — and Collin coach Jim Sigona couldn’t be happier.
“We’re excited to have Kadar,” Sigona said. “I think he’s a true point guard, which is hard to find today. To be honest with you, we didn’t think he’d be available. Unfortunately, with coronavirus … I mean, he’s a Division I player and I think we’re fortunate to get him, and I look forward to coaching him.”
Burris-Garofalo, an all-area player at Stockdale and Liberty, saw limited action the past two seasons at Notre Dame de Namur, a Division II college in Belmont.
Now he’s ready for a fresh start at Division III Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, a school that recruited him heavily in high school.
“I definitely have high expectations (about playing there),” Burris-Garofalo said. “I only have two years to play. So I wanted to make sure I’d have the opportunity to play on the court. They’re bringing in a lot of new players and I’m really excited.”
Second-year Kingsmen coach Russell White is also happy to add Burris-Garofalo to his roster.
“We’re excited to get some experience,” said White, who was hired at Cal Lutheran in July 2019. “We were really young last year and we’re going to be really young this year. So there’s definitely opportunities for him to come in and get playing time and earn a spot somewhere. Obviously his athleticism is relevant for us at our level. So those are two things we’re really excited about.”
In addition to Waller and Burris-Garofalo, a handful of other talented local boys basketball players are planning to play at junior colleges throughout the state, according to their high school coaches.
BVarsity All-Area first-team guards Josh Geary (Bakersfield High) and Josh Codamon (Independence) are planning to stay local and play for Rich Hughes at Bakersfield College.
David Whatley (BHS), the two-time Southwest Yosemite League player of the year (he shared the honor with Geary this season), is planning to play at Fresno City College, while Chavez graduate Adan Arredondo is headed to Reedley College, according to Titans coach Alfonso Hernandez.