California Baptist University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Tim Collins has announced the final four pieces to the Lancers’ 2009-10 recruiting class.
The final pieces include two NCAA Division I transfers in Andre Gilbert (Kansas State) and Clint Amberry (San Jose State), a junior college transfer in Justus Von Wright (L.A. Pierce College) and the return of a former Lancer (Cesar Menjivar).
Gilbert, a 6-7, 205-pound senior and native of Brooklyn Park, Minn., played the 2007-08 season for the Wildcats averaging 3.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists while being named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. He started 15 of his 27 appearances alongside eventual NBA players Michael Beasley and Bill Walker for the 21-12 Wildcats that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Gilbert’s best game came in an 82-69 win over Rider in the finale of the Old Spice Classic when he scored a game-high 22 points, going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, to go along with five rebounds in 28 minutes. Four nights later, he played a season-high 32 minutes and had 16 points and four rebounds in a narrow 80-77 overtime loss at home to No. 17 Oregon. He later had seven points in a win at Colorado and then started in back-to-back games against Top 10 teams Texas (No. 5) and Kansas (No. 6) near the end of the season in nationally-televised games on ESPN, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds against Texas.
Gilbert was one of Frank Martin’s first signings when Martin replaced Bob Huggins prior to the 2007-08 season. He played in just 14 games due to a shoulder injury, averaging 7.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists at Mt. San Jacinto College in 2006-07. He played his 2005-06 freshman season at South Dakota State, averaging 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20 games.
“Andre will be one of the GSAC’s premiere athletes this season,” said Collins. “He is the athlete that we needed to get to replace the seniors we lost to graduation. He possesses strength, jumping ability and rebounding tenacity to go with his quickness and agility, and he is a quality defender who can also fill the lanes and get to the basket. His experience will contribute to the growth of our young team this season.”
A 6-10, 205-pound sophomore, Amberry played his 2007-08 freshman season at San Jose State. He played in 11 games (5.7 minutes), scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds for the 13-17 Spartans. He scored three points in 13 minutes in a win over San Diego.
Amberry prepped at Los Alamitos (Calif.) High where he earned all-state first team honors by CalHi Sports as a junior after averaging 14.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. He averaged 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, was named Sunset League Co-Most Valuable Player and was rated among the top-200 high school seniors by several national recruiting services as a 2007 senior.
“Clint is going to be a difficult match-up in our conference,” said Collins. “He plays well in the post and has a good set of skills, and his trademark is being a good passer and playmaker. His former coaches have been impressed with his basketball IQ, which is something that is extremely important in our system. For a big man, he has good hands and a nice perimeter shot, and he is someone that we can build our program around for the next three years.”
Von Wright, a 6-3 wing, transfers after just one season at L.A. Pierce Junior College. He played in 25 games and averaged 14.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in earning Western State Conference North Division honorable mention. Von Wright had 20 double-digit scoring games and six 20-point games, including a season-high 28 points against Los Angeles City. He also had 25 points against Santa Barbara. Von Wright prepped at Van Nuys (Calif.) High.
“Justus brings quickness at the defensive end of the floor and will likely earn a lot of quality minutes this year,” said Collins. “He is very athletic on the offensive end and can really get to the rim. He has shown himself to be a strong leader, and we are excited about his ability and his positive attitude toward life. We feel we’ve recruited a fine player and a young man committed to excellence.”
After sitting out last season, Menjivar returns to the court providing the Lancers with quality depth at point guard as he joins junior Kris Corso and junior college transfer Kelly Johnson. In two seasons at CBU, Menjivar played in 63 games, starting four, and has averaged 4.1 points and 2.0 assists in 16.4 minutes while playing in two national tournaments. He has 124 career assists against just 59 career turnovers and has shot 43 percent (40-for-93) from the 3-point line. As a 2008 sophomore, Menjivar appeared in 33 games, averaging 5.0 points and 2.4 assists in 21.3 minutes.
“Cesar is a campus favorite and a coach’s dream,” said Collins. “He is a good leader and a cerebral player, which makes him extremely valuable. Our staff is excited about his return to the court.”
Gilbert, Amberry, Von Wright and Menjivar joins a class that already includes junior college transfers Johnson (Citrus) and Tom Schumacher (Cuesta) as well as prep standouts Luke Evans (Oceanside-El Camino HS) and Josh Barrett (Vista Murrieta HS).
CBU finished 22-9 overall in 2009, advancing to the GSAC Tournament Semifinals for the second straight year. The Lancers were ranked No. 5 in the NAIA Top 25 Preseason Poll and after a 7-0 start were ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history. It was their third straight 20-win season.