’s done it all this year for the Gavilan College men’s
basketball team this season.
He’s done it all this year for the Gavilan College men’s basketball team this season.
Jimmy Herrera, the lone sophomore on the Rams, has become the leader of the team both on and off the court this year.
“I’ve learned a lot, Herrera said. “Our seasons have always been up and down. Right now I just hope to finish strong against Cabrillo.”
Herrera and his parents Ignacio and Mary will be honored in tonight’s doubleheader before the men’s game at 7:30 p.m.
“His impact on team can’t be overstated,” said first-year coach Chris Shoemaker. “He leads in nearly every offensive category. But that is not really his biggest contribution. His leadership is.”
“We would be lost without him,” Shoemaker added. “From day one he has been our hardest worker and our most consistent performer. He has done everything that I have asked of him. I have been greatly impressed by his work ethic.”
Herrera’s leadership has helped the Rams to be competitive this year, Shoemaker said.
“He has improved with his vocal leadership,” Shoemaker said. “He has always led by example. Our freshmen have fed off it, and they have all improved because of that.”
Even though the Rams haven’t won many games in the past two years, Herrera said he has still been able to keep his head up.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Herrera said. “It’s just basketball. I’ve tried to play as hard as I can and encourage the guys not to get down. It hasn’t always turned out good, but the overall experience has been good.”
Herrera said adjusting to two different coaches was tough.
“They both have different styles,” Herrera said. “Coach (John) Beccerra was really into fundamentals. He taught me a lot about ball handling. Coach Shoemaker has taught me a lot about leadership and what it takes. It is good to like your coach. And I have liked both of mine.”
Within the last couple months, Herrera has also picked up more than his share of the offense.
“I’ve been ball faking more,” Herrera said. “Coach has given us a workout to do every day before practice, and I’ve been working on that really hard. And it has been paying off. If it presents itself, I got to take it. But if someone else on the team is hitting them, I am giving him the ball.”
Through eight league games, Herrera leads every team offensive category. He is 40-for-81 in field goals and 11-for-24 from behind the arch and averages 15 points per game. He also leads the Rams in assists with 19 and rebounds with 33.
He has been virtually automatic at the free-throw line, going 22-for-26. Herrera’s free-throw accuracy is ranked 25th among all state junior colleges.
Herrera, who has started every game this season, is second in overall scoring for the season behind former Live Oak teammate Jody McAlpine. Last year as a freshman, Herrera was an All-Conference player.
Herrera has also improved on his defense this year.
“My dad always told me that if I didn’t get at least three fouls I wasn’t being aggressive enough,” Herrera said.
Herrera, a 3.45 GPA student, said he plans to transfer to a four-year school and possibly study Computer Science. He is thinking about Santa Cruz or Cal-Poly and plans to tryout for the basketball team.
“I think a school would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to take him,” Shoemaker said. “There is no doubt on my mind that he has the chance to play at the next level once someone sees him play.”
It hasn’t been easy this year having just one sophomore on the team this year, Shoemaker said.
“It would have been much tougher on the freshman and on me as a first-year coach with out him,” Shoemaker said. “We need to make this into a two-year program where we have six or seven guys returning.
“I think we will have our nucleus back,” Shoemaker added. “It will make a world of a difference – from our offseason off season workouts to preseason conditioning. At this level, the sophomores do a lot of the teaching.”