Experienced Roster Leads CSUB Into 2019-20 Season

 Justin McCall (GoRunners.com Photo)
Justin McCall (GoRunners.com Photo)

CSU Bakersfield’s men’s basketball team is preparing to kick off the 2019-20 season with a heavily-experienced roster.

Bakersfield, Calif. – Postseason play has become a habit for the Roadrunner men’s basketball team and CSU Bakersfield’s Head Coach Rod Barnes aims to keep that tradition going in 2019-20.

Barnes’ squads have now been to the postseason in three of the past four seasons including CSUB’s first Division I NCAA Tournament berth in 2015-16, a historic run to the NIT semifinals in 2016-17, and a three-game road swing to the CIT quarterfinals last season. In the last two trips to the postseason, the `Runners have posted a 5-2 record despite playing all seven games on the road. Over that same span, the rest of the Western Athletic Conference has put together a 3-11 record in postseason play.

Heading into his ninth season at the helm of the program, Barnes will look to a large group of veteran leaders to pace the `Runners. A return to the postseason this season will only be possible if that group is able to continue the momentum developed over the past several season.

“The last five years, we have worked hard on building a great program,” Barnes said. “It took us a while to change the perception from ‘we hope to make the postseason’ to ‘we expect to make the postseason’. We are excited about this team and I am confident we will have another winning season.”

Returners

With a 50-50 split of returners and newcomers, Barnes will look to his core of veterans to lead the way. Included in that group is a pair of `Runners who were unanimously chosen as co-captains by their teammates: Justin Edler-Davis and De’Monte Buckingham.

Entering his fourth season in the CSUB program, Edler-Davis is a guard/forward with over 60 games of experience under his belt. The native of San Diego, Calif. is a hustler who leaves everything on the court and will make a big impact for the `Runners once again.

After sitting out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Buckingham is set to make his CSUB debut in November. The University of Richmond transfer put together two standout years before deciding to make a change of pace and head to Bakersfield. The 2017 Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year, Buckingham stands to add a little bit of everything on the court after utilizing his year as a redshirt to immerse himself in the CSUB basketball program.

Forward Greg Lee, guard Taze Moore, and guard/forward Justin McCall all return for another season, ready to make their marks with plenty of wisdom and invaluable experience. Lee continues to develop as a scoring threat while his 6-foot-9 frame is a factor on both ends of the court. Moore brings the “wow factor” with his high-flying dunks and acrobatic blocks and he will look to handle the ball much more in 2019-20. McCall has gained insight and skill year after year and he gives Bakersfield great depth with his athleticism.

CSUB’s only returning sophomore is Darrin Person Jr., who enters his third year in the program after redshirting as a freshman. The native of Fresno, Calif. played in 30 games last season and proved himself as an apt rebounder and a solid offensive option.

Newcomers

Bakersfield will enjoy the CSUB debuts of five new `Runners this season as Ronne Readus, Shawn Stith, Czar Perry, Cam Allen, and Jack Schoemann are all set to run out on the blue Kern Schools Court for the first time.

A pair of junior college transfers, Readus and Stith are very familiar with each other. The two juniors are both California natives and played with each other on travel teams growing up. When Readus joined Fullerton College and Stith joined Saddleback College, the big men found themselves in the same conference, competing for State titles. Now they are back together as members of the CSUB squad and provide a significant increase in size to the Bakersfield frontcourt.

Perry is another junior college transfer who spent his last two years at Holmes Community college in Mississippi. The guard has a knack for finding his way to the rim and will use his athleticism to make an impact for CSUB this season.

Allen (Loyola Marymount) and Schoemann (Colorado State) are a pair of transfers from four-year institutions who are eligible to compete for the `Runners immediately. A redshirt junior guard, Allen adds depth and experience to the CSUB backcourt while Schoemann, a sophomore, adds size in the post and can also knock down jump shots.

Ray Somerville, a 6-foot-10 true freshman out of Media, Pa., will sit out this season as a redshirt, but will gain valuable knowledge from his veteran leaders as well as practice time with the team.

The CSUB squad will unofficially kick off the season on Saturday, Nov. 2, with a home exhibition game against Westcliff. Three days later, Bakersfield’s Nov. 5 regular-season opener against Notre Dame de Namur will signal the beginning of the five-month march toward the team’s goal of continuing its postseason streak.