Last season was another season of firsts for the CSU Bakersfield men's basketball team. After the program's 1st ever postseason win at the division one level, two more took the Runners to New York City and the Final Four of the NIT.
From last year's whirlwind run to last week's kids camp, senior point guard Brent Wrapp knows what the kids he's teaching are going through. Not too long ago he was in those same shoes. "The whole time I just told myself I know I'm good enough to play at the D-I level," he said. "That's what I want to do, that's what I dreamed of since I was a little kid."
For the player whose image is on the front wall inside the Icardo Center, his journey to Bakersfield was anything but straightforward.
A standout in Boulder, Colorado, the point guard from Fairview High School didn't get a single offer to play at the D-I level. "If I was in a different area I feel like I would've gotten a little bit more recruited," he said.
CSUB assistant coach Jeff Conarroe was tipped off about Wrapp's talent and went to watch him play. But Conarroe had a major problem. There were no scholarships left to offer him. "We were up front and we were honest with him," Conarroe said.
While head coach Rod Barnes didn't have any scholarships he did give his word. If Wrapp would come to Bakersfield he would have a spot on the team. "It was a blind trust. They didn't really have to follow through with it," Wrapp said.
He would pay his own way while redshirting his freshman year and saw firsthand how difficult the turnaround process would be. He said he would joke with his roommate Jaylin Airington during games saying not even Kobe Bryant could sell out the Icardo Center. "You could look behind you and see all the way to the top. No one in the seats," he said.
Kobe never came but when Wrapp finally took the blue court, he quickly excelled and his sophomore year he was named one of the team's captains. "He has all the intangibles," said Barnes. "He works hard every day. He tries to get along with every player."
Going into his fifth year in the program he has complete control of the Runners' offense as the team's "floor general" with Coach Barnes even saying he asks Wrapp what to do during games. "He tells me and I kind of relay it to everyone else," he said. "I've looked good for the last two years because of his smarts."
An example to the kids at CSUB's camp how having faith in yourself can pay off.
Barnes said as a senior he anticipates Wrapp to have more a scoring role. When told that's what Barnes said, Wrapp said he's willing to score, distribute or rebound and do whatever it takes to win.
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