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Recruiting looks promising for Yuba College basketball
The last time local basketball fans saw Cody Kale play, it was February 2010 and he was torching Yuba City High in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff game at Honker Gym.
Come next season, the former Rocklin High standout will be calling Yuba College home.
Like many basketball players from across the nation, Kale chose to leave a four-year university after his freshman season for junior college ball.
Cal State Bakersfield's loss is now Yuba's gain as the high-scoring guard will join the 49ers on their new hardwood next season.
"He actually left Bakersfield at the break and he's been at Yuba the whole spring semester," 49ers coach Doug Cornelius said. "He's been working out with us this summer and he's going to be good."
Kale averaged 23.3 points and 4.4 assists per game during his senior year at Rocklin, including a game-high 30 points in the Thunders' 77-70 overtime victory that bounced the Honkers from the playoffs.
But he's not the only former D-I player to come calling to Yuba.
Former Sacramento High standout Trevan Abraham recently transferred in from Rice and will be donning the blue and gold of the 49ers as well. Abraham started 13 games at point guard for Rice as a true freshman and will bring his Conference USA talent to the Mid-Valley come next season.
The two will follow in the footsteps of last year's Bay Valley Conference MVP Julian Welch, who transferred to Yuba from UC Davis after his freshman year.
However, the biggest name to join the 49ers this winter will be forward Sean Harris, who stared for the 49ers during his freshman year in 2008.
Harris was the team MVP that season while leading the 49ers into the Elite 8 with a 32-4 record before going on a Latter-day Saints mission to Honduras for two years.
He originally signed a letter of intent to play at Bradley, but when coach Jim Les was let go last season, Harris changed his mind.
Now the head coach at UC Davis, Les wanted Harris to join him on the Aggies. However, the athletic forward opted to return to Yuba for his sophomore campaign instead.
Needless to say, Cornelius is happy to have him back.
"He's going to be one of the best players in California next year," Cornelius said. "We're excited, really excited."
Another key returner for the 49ers will be wingman Spencer Butterfield, who turned down three Division-I offers in order to return to Yuba for his sophomore year, Cornelius said.
Add to that the return of Anto Olah and Jhonte Simpson, local standouts Tyler Fry and David Wilson and others, and Cornelius likes his team's prospects.
"We've got a nice class coming in, some nice transfers and some nice returners," he said. "We're going to be able to shoot the ball better and be a little bit more athletic than last year."
The 49ers went 26-6 last season before losing 91-79 to Fresno City College in the second round of the CCCAA Northern California Regional playoffs. This year, they could go even further.
"You can never foresee chemistry or injuries, but we like our chances," Cornelius said. "It will definitely be a team the community will enjoy watching."
In other news, Shola Diop, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound sophomore from Sydney, Australia, signed a full Division-I scholarship to attend Winthrop University of the Big South Conference.
Winthrop is one of only three universities in the nation that has won nine of its last 12 conference championships. The other two are Gonzaga and Duke.
Also moving on to the next level is post player Garrett Ellwood, who signed a full-ride scholarship to play for San Diego Christian.
Diop and Ellwood give the five-time defending BVC-champion 49ers five players who have signed a full-ride scholarship this spring, joining Welch (Minnesota), Mike McChristian (Idaho) and Julian Scott (Southern Utah).
Since 2002, Yuba has sent a total of 59 players on to four-year universities.