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PC notebook: Carmichael goes from last to first
He's being recruited at Division I level
Being picked last is certainly no fun.
The day Jason Carmichael was the final player chosen for a practice drill was just the motivation he needed.
“It was the first day of summer basketball at PC,” said Carmichael.
“I promised myself that would never happen again. Since then, it’s been hard work every day.”
The Mt. Whitney high school product is no stranger to hard work. He grew up on a ranch in Woodlake. His muscular build on a 6-1, 215-pound frame — more like a fullback than combo guard — didn’t come from the weight room.
“A lot of hard work in the field,” he said. “Raising cattle and horses, and maintaining the land on our property. I didn’t hit the weight room hard until I arrived at PC.”
Today, Carmichael has positioned himself from being picked last as a young freshman — to being perhaps the first player from the 2011-12 Central Valley Conference sophomore class to commit to a Division 1 university.
Following a summer described by PC coach T.J. Jennings as “dynamic growth” in Carmichael, a handful of mid-majors have started to arrive at the Pirates Gym to watch him work — including schools from the Western Athletic Conference, Big Sky Conference, and Great West Conference.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Carmichael, who dazzled scouts during two summer showcase events.
“”It’s like a dream come true — to be recruited for something I’ve worked so hard for. I will enjoy the process, and then pick the best program that has everything I’m looking for.”
Jennings said Carmichael, who plays shooting guard and point guard, was the best player on the court over the summer, facing top teams in the state.
“His shooting was lights out... unstoppable at times,” Jennings said.
“But he also showed the ability to rebound and defend like we haven’t seen. He’s stronger and more physical than the average combo guard. When you have a player like that who is talented and dedicated, then it’s no wonder why my phone won’t stop ringing.”
Carmichael plans to visit several campuses before reaching a final decision. He will have the option of signing early in November or waiting until the season unfolds.
Still, when asked about the one thing he wants to accomplish this year, his answer is simple.
“It’s all about the team,” he said. “The team will have a better chance of succeeding if we all do our part. For me, it’s about doing all the little things that make you a great leader. That’s something I work on every day in practice.”
ON THE AIR
Jennings will be the featured guest on this Friday’s halftime show during KTIP’s Football Game of the Week between Monache and Tulare Western. The third-year coach will talk about this year’s basketball team, recruiting class, and upcoming schedule. Official practice begins on Oct. 1 and the season opens in early November.
The Pirates just missed being listed in the first 2011 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.
PC was included in “The Best of the Rest” category as Northern California’s No. 16 team. Fresno (3-3), the reigning Central Valley Conference champ, is No. 12 in the North (No. 22 in the state), and Taft (3-4) was No. 15.
“The goal for us is to finish well enough in the preseason to earn a spot in the Top 25,” Henderson said.
“Our four remaining preseason opponents are all ranked, so our strength of schedule is better than most. That certainly becomes a factor during playoff seedings.”
Within the next week, PC faces No. 1 Cabrillo (6-0), No. 16 American River (4-1), No. 21 Feather River (4-3), and No. 24 Sierra (4-3) — four programs that were 2010 playoff qualifiers.