Article, 2007-2008 Season - Ohlone College Renegades Men's Basketball

Ohlone seeks own tournament title

Renegades lack experience, but have 7-foot transfer from Rhode Island plus two 6-9 players

By David Schoen, Staff writer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

FREMONT—Since its inception in 2004, the Jonathan Wallace Memorial Tournament at Ohlone College has grown into a high-caliber East Bay junior college basketball event.

There's just one problem, according to Ohlone men's coach John Peterson.

"We haven't won it," Peterson said.

Last year, the Renegades blew a seven-point lead in the championship game and lost to Diablo Valley College. Their next shot at winning the Wallace begins Friday when the fourth annual event tips off at 1 p.m. with DVC taking on Hartnell.

In the other first-round games, Merritt meets Feather River at 3 p.m., Cabrillo plays Shasta at 5 followed by Ohlone and Sacramento City College at 7 p.m. The tournament continues Saturday with games at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Sunday's games are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. with the championship set for 3 p.m.

"We're going to try to get that monkey off our back," Peterson said. "The onus is on us to hold home court. Hopefully we can get it done."

Wallace was a graduate of Emery High in Emeryville who was a two-year starter for the Renegades, winning back-to-back Coast Conference North championships. Wallace signed to play at Adams State, but was killed in a car accident in August 2004, two weeks before he was set to leave for the school in Alamosa, Colo. Proceeds from the tournament go to the Jonathan Christian Wallace Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The field in the Wallace tournament has improved each year, and it's loaded this year once again. In addition, Peterson is expecting large crowds with Merritt and Cabrillo entered along with Hartnell, whose fans who are known for traveling well.

"The competition level has gone up," Peterson said. "We have quality teams now. This is the best we've had since we started doing this."

The Renegades are fresh off a 28-4 season that saw them advance to the quarterfinals of the Community College State Championships, where Ohlone dropped a tough 71-69 decision to Antelope Valley. However, Peterson lost 13 players from that team, 11 of whom received scholarships to four-year schools.

This is Peterson's tallest team—it features 7-foot University of Rhode Island transfer Frank Monge, 6-9 Alpha N'Daiye (Mali) and 6-9 Matt Connors (formerly of Amador Valley High in Pleasanton)—but it is also one of his most inexperienced.

"We have eight guys who haven't played a game in over a year," Peterson said.

DVC features 6-7 former San Ramon Valley star Brandon Adams, who is listed as one of the top 50 JUCO players in the country.

Merritt, coached by former Ohlone assistant Troy Johnson, is led by brothers Chris and Matt Busch (San Leandro) along with talented point guard Andre Martin.

Other players to watch include Feather River's 6-9 Zachary Atkinson, and Shasta's twin towers of 6-11 Derek Oestrieker and 7-1 Garrick McDowell.

Staff writer David Schoen can be reached by e-mail at dschoen@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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