After winning the first WAC tournament in school history, the CSU Bakersfield basketball team is starting to see the fruits of that success with local recruiting.
Today Ronnie Stapp, a sophomore at Bakersfield High School, verbally committed to play for the Runners. "It's kind of everything you ever wanted," Stapp said Monday. "Going to a D-I college and the dream of going to the big tournament."
The Runners are coming off the best year in program history. CSUB finished with an overall record of 24-9 (WAC 11-3) and were 14-1 inside the Icardo Center. After Dedrick Basille’s buzzer beater over New Mexico State in the WAC final, the Runners played in their first ever D-I NCAA Tournament losing in the first round 82-68 to #2 Oklahoma.
Stapp is listed at 6’6”, 185 pounds and last season played shooting guard for the Drillers when the team finished with an overall record of 17-11 and 8-2 in Southwest Yosemite League play. The sophomore played just 10 games due to an ACL injury but averaged 12.4 points a game shooting 52% from the field. "It's very rare," said Drillers coach Greg Burt. "People think that scholarships are just handed out; its not. You have to be really good and Ronnie is really good."
While Stapp said seeing the Runners' success this year didn't play a part in his decision, he was watching the team every step of the way. "I was hoping they would go a little bit further but it was big to everyone in town and definitely meant a lot to me," he said.
Aside from the allure of playing in the NCAA Tournament Stapp said the biggest part of his decision was the ability to play minutes from where he grew up. "Staying in my hometown is what I really wanted," he said. Coach Burt was also happy with his decision because it gives him the chance to watch him develop. "Being in town we all have an opportunity to watch him play and grow and that will be a lot of fun for me."
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