Academics, Attitude, Athletics : Three words that describe a history committed towards excellence.
The 89-90 Blue Devils went 23-11 while winning a State Regional Playoff on their way to the State Semi-Finals.
1990-91 was one of the best teams in Blue Devil basketball history. While they didn’t make the State Final Eight Championship in Irvine, they did finish 25-8 overall and 1st in the Camino Norte Conference. Many records that don’t show up were set last year. For the first time in the school’s history, five players grabbed 100 or more rebounds (Traven Buckner 272, Paul Merritt 214, Darrel Davis 213, Maurice Williams 116, and Benson Brower 109). Five Blue Devils averaged in double figures (Williams 20, Buckner 14.4, Frazier 12.7, Merritt 10.8, and Davis 10.0). Both guards Maurice Williams had 125 assists while Greg Frazier lead the team with 141 assists.
Following the great year of 1990-91 proved to be a greater task than one would have expected. The Blue Devils equaled a feat that happened twenty years before and that was to finish below a .500 record. For only the second time in 29 years the Blue Devils finished a season under .500 at 13-17. Also, it was the first time since the 1972-73 season that the Blue Devils didn’t win at least 20 games. The Blue Devils defeated State top twenty team Sacramento City College 72-59. They played tough all season and never lost their focus. Darrell Davis had a top performance of the year against Santa Rosa JC scoring 27 points and collecting 16 rebounds. The team flirted with 70% free throw shooting all season, and was lead by Noble Scott’s 71.4%. Guard Kevin Traylor came within eight three pointer attempts of the record set by Reggie Ricks at 105 in 1987-88. The Blue Devils culminated the season by making their 20th straight appearance in the State Playoffs.
In 30 years, the Blue Devils have had 18 California JC All-Americans, 10 All-State Tourney, and 69 1st Team All-Conference selections. The Blue Devils have won 2 State Championships, 16 Conference Championships, and 27 of76 tournaments.
The 1992-93 season was looked upon with great expectations. The Blue Devils had three starters returning including leading scorer Kevin Traylor (15.9), and Best Free Throw Shooter Noble Scott (76%). The other starter was Guard Vince Norris. Instead it became a season with many highs and lows.
The Blue Devils finished the season with a 12-19 record. They played all of their opponents tough, but seemed to find a way to let the game slip away. The Blue Devils played tough for the first thirty-five minutes. In the last five minutes of the game, everything they seemed to do wouldn’t work right. Most of their nineteen losses came in during this time.
The up side of the season was when they finished 2nd in the Merced Invitational, and won the consolation championship of the Antelope Valley Tournament. The Blue Devils also had a four game winning streak that lasted until the championship game of the Merced Invitational. Forward Noble Scott and Guard Vince Norris were named to the All-Camino Norte Conference 1st Team. The Blue Devils had four players that averaged in double figures. They were Noble Scott 11.9, Kevin Traylor 11.3, MosesKearney 10.9, and Darryl “Joey” Fox 10.1. The Blue Devils made the State Regional Playoffs for the 20th year in a row.
Last year’s team was more of the previous two years, and a blast from the past. The Blue Devils finished the season with a 15-17 record and 2nd round loss in the State Regional Playoffs. They finished third in the Pepsi, Merced, San Jose and Consolation Champions in the COS Tournament.
The Blue Devils also witnessed some of the greatest performances in recent years. Point guard Adrian O’Neal finished the season with 192 assists and a single game record tying 14 assists. He tied Joey Allison’s record. Adrian also set and reset the record for most free throws in a row with 27 and then 35. Adrian hit on 27 before missing two in a row and then hitting on 35 in a row. Forward Joey Fox broke a 25 year old record of 9.3 rebounds a game set by Willie Cherry with 9.5 rebounds a game. Joey also became the first Blue Devil to reach the 300 rebound plateau with 303. He broke Sam Barnes 1987-88 record of 298.
The 1994-95 basketball seasons saw the resurgence of the Blue Devils as a basketball power. The Blue Devils finished the season with a 23-11 record and third place finish in the tough Central Valley Conference. The Blue Devils finished the regular season ranked 20 in the State, and 11 in Northern California. The Blue Devils were one of seven teams from the conference to play in the California State Basketball Playoffs, and was one victory away from returning to the State Final Eight at V.C. Irvine.
The Blue Devils played a tough non-conference schedule with the likes of American River, Shasta, C.O.S., San Jose CC, Sacramento, S.J. Delta, and West Valley College. The Blue Devils finished 3rd in the Pepsi Tourney, 2nd in the Merced Invitational, Consolation Champions in the San Jose and C.O.S. Tourneys, and 4th in the SJ. Delta Classic.
While the Blue Devils lost two games to eventual conference champions Columbia, they did defeat Fresno City College twice and C.O.S. at home. Seven teams from the CVC made it to the State Regional Playoffs with Merced and three other schools making it to the “Sweet Sixteen”.
Records fell during the 1994-95 campaign. Center Kelvin Richardson tied the one year old rebounding record set by Joey Fox with 303. Guard Rondell Christian broke Kevin Traylor’s three-point shooting percentage with a40.2% average. Forward Travis Schlaht finished an outstanding career at Merced College, leading the team in scoring (13.8), and free-throw shooting (75.3%).
The 1995-96 Blue Devil basketball team finished with a 17-18 record and came within one victory of qualifying for the State Final Eight.
The Blue Devils had an up and down season that included winning the Merced Invitational against the then undefeated San Jose City College. A team that started the season struggling became a well rounded and tough opponent for any team they played. They were capable of beating any team they faced by the end of the season. The Blue Devils were the only team that defeated San Jose City College twice last year once in Merced at the Invitational, and in the second round of the Northern California Regional Playoffs in San Jose. The Blue Devils came within 4 points of qualifying for the State Final Eight. A win over CC San Francisco and the Blue Devils would have made their first appearance in the State Finals in five years.
The Blue Devils did manage to set some records and have outstanding performances. The Blue Devils set a school record for giving up the fewest amount of points in a single half giving up 8 to Consumnes River College at the Chabot Tournament, and for the first time in more than ten years the Blue Devils had six players with 100 or more rebounds.
The Blue Devils were lead by sophomore captains Ja’Son Scott, and Rondell Christian. The Blue Devils were lead in scoring by Ja’Son Scott who averaged 10.5 points a game, and Charles Wiley’s 5.5 rebounds a game average. Scott was named the Teams Eddie Guerrero Best All-Around Player.
The 1997-98 basketball season would look like a bad year if you looked at the overall record overall record of the team; however, the Blue Devils finished the season with a record and hosted a first round game in the State Regional Playoffs. The 1997-98 season was much more than that. For most of the season the Blue evils were a tight nit group of either eight or nine players that all contributed to the success they had. The Blue Devils won the 18th Annual Pepsi Tournament, defeated a very tough COS Giants basketball team in the last minute and in one of the decade's best basketball game kept coming from behind to beat the Columbia College Claim Jumpers in triple overtime. The Blue Devils had a core of sophomores lead by Eddie Guerrero Best All-Around and 1st Team AII-Conference selection Richard Lugowski. Richard lead the team in scoring (19.*), 3pt shooting (79), and charges taken. Complementing him both in the inside and outside were Forward Kenquan Hudson who led all Blue Devils with 8.8 rebounds a game, and 58.8% floor shooting. From the outside second leading scorer and guard Roylin Wolf averaged 12.7pts and hit on 76 3pters. The Blue Devils got help from everyone. Everyone that started and those who came in off the bench gave the Blue Devils what they needed in '98, a year to be remembered for all the accomplishment.
The years from 1998-99's season till last year's team, the Blue Devils have had many peaks and valleys. One thing has been constant in every year....."The never give up attitude". During this time Coach Russell has had his team prepared both on and off the court to meet all challenges. The motto “Academics, Athletics, and Attitude”, has been paramount in all his teams. Players like Emier Sheppard, Jarreau Rasheed, Christian Collazo, and Clifford Charles all played during this time. Sheppard was a two time 1st Team All-CVC and Defensive selection. In his sophomore year he lead the team in rebounding (9.9 and second in the conference), scoring (18.2 fourth in the conference), field goal percentage (57%), 3-point shooting (40.7%), and assists with almost 3 per game. He shot over 74% free throws in his two years and averaged over 8.9 rebounds for two seasons. He was also named Team MVP his sophomore year. Jarreau Rasheed played guard and lead the team in scoring his sophomore of 2002-03 with 18.3 points a game. Averaging over 18 points a game he was second in the conference, 1st Team All-CVC, and Team MVP. Point guard Christian Collazo averaged 4.6 assists a game and second in the conference.