May 7, 2014

Briggs gets tapped

Kevin McCarthy

Justin Briggs, of River City High and Play Hard Play Smart (PHPS) Renegades hoops identity, has just undergone his initiation. That is getting his very first scholarship offer.

photo of Justin Briggs

At 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, the senior-to-be was reached out to by Coach Reggie Theus of Cal State Northridge University, a member of the Big West Conference.

The Matadors need an infusion of youthful height as, according to the current roster, 6-foot-10 Devonte Elliott will be a senior next season with 6-10 Kevin Johnson a junior. That's it for power frontcourters making it appear there will be playing time available to be earned.

But Northridge may soon be joined by others as PHPS Renegades Coach Lester Diaz said of his pupil, “He is going to be very good. He's only 16 and we're expecting him to break out this summer. It's a matter of staying the course -- losing some weight and gaining strength.”

Lafayette, Eastern Washington and Nevada also are showing interest, according to Diaz.

So who is Justin Briggs?

Part of a high school squad coming off a 21-7 overall record and a 10-2 top mark in the Sierra Valley Conference.

Briggs said River City Coach Greg Clark offered that he was the most improved player on the team this season.

“I was 6-foot-3 as a freshman but I've worked on my athleticism and spent time in the weight room besides getting taller.”

2013-14 was his first season playing on varsity.

To a query regarding his best skill, Briggs said, “rebounding.” Takeaways from various evaluation events credit him with good post moves and good foot work.

Briggs in on target academically and is looking to major in psychology, which is what his sister is studying at UC Santa Barbara.

As for his best basketball moment, he offered, “when we won our league championship against El Dorado High. We would have been tied if we had lost.” That was a 76-71 double overtime victory on February 17.

Between high school and club basketball, his positioning is giving him a well-rounded experience because “in high school, we run four out, one and I'm the post but with Play Hard Play Smart, we have two or three posts and I can also work outside.”