JUCO Basketball: Medrano inks with Thompson Rivers

Gavilan’s Albert Medrano, center, inks with Thompson Rivers University Monday alongside assistant coach Johnnie Skinner, left, and head coach David Kaplansky, right. 

GILROY—In life, things can happen quickly—and Gavilan’s Albert Medrano, knows this all too well.
It has been a whirlwind month for the Rams’ sophomore guard. In the blink of an eye he went from a young man unsure of his next move to one who will be playing Division II college basketball. Even as he signed his letter of intent to play for Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada on Monday, Medrano was smiling as he shook his head in disbelief.
“It’s always been a dream,” the sophomore said. “I never expected more until it actually happened. I’m definitely excited but nervous too.”
Medrano was a two-year starter for Gavilan and averaged 9.9 points and 5.6 boards per game. He scored 248 points, grabbed 140 rebounds and racked up 94 assists for the Rams last season.
His time as a Ram, Medrano said, taught him that effort and teamwork trumps talent and selfishness—a lesson head coach David Kaplansky echoed before the sophomore put the pen to paper.
As Kaplansky gestured to Medrano he told the current and prospective Rams who turned out to witness the signing that it was his effort on the court and in the classroom—not how many games were won or lost—that got him his scholarship.
“He shows the guys if they put in the work, they get good grades, they can follow suit and make this a tradition where more guys in our program will continue to move on,” Kaplansky said. “At the end of the day, that’s why I took this job was to help guys like Albert move on.”
Though Medrano has played competitively since fifth grade, he said it wasn’t until he got to Gavilan that he truly flourished as a basketball player. At 6-1, he was typically the tallest player on his private school teams and was often put in at center. But Kaplansky recognized he should’ve been a guard all along.
“When I got here, that’s when I started acquiring the skills for my correct position,” Medrano said. “This coach really put me in my place and made me do whatever I can to help the team. It wasn’t ‘hero basketball,’ it was all effort and who wants it more.”
Life won’t be slowing down for Medrano anytime soon either. He just got his passport last week and will depart for Canada on Saturday. Since he has never set foot outside the U.S., Medrano admitted to feeling some butterflies but said excitement trumped his nerves.
Medrano has yet to see the Thompson Rivers campus but when he does, his first order of business is a face-to-face with his new head coach, Scott Clark.
“I just can’t wait to shake his hand,” a beaming Medrano said.