June 4, 2011

Silsdorf moving on and up

Kevin McCarthy

Amidst all the hullabaloo based on the latest tweets and whisperings from this or that azure-colored chipper on his possible college choice, the other 98% of basketball prospects go about their respective business in a degree of anonymity except for family, friends and, most critically, 98% of college coaches. This relative inconspicuousness doesn’t mean these players drift away to Forgotten-ville though. Moving on is a similar if just much less spotlighted process and Jason Silsdorf’s new college home is a prime example.

photo of Jason Silsdorf

The 6-foot-11 Silsdorf came out of Encinal High in 2008 and spent three years at Chabot College (redshirting in the 2009-2010 season) under the tutelage of Coach Denny Aye and his staff.

Now he is headed to Sonoma State University (SSU) to play for coaching fixture Pat Fuscaldo on a team loaded with former northern California prepsters. SSU plays in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, which also features regional members San Francisco State, Humboldt State, Cal State East Bay, Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State Monterey Bay, as well as colleges in southern California.

Here’s the why of Silsdorf’s decision: "I felt comfortable with the coaching staff while visiting with them and the players felt like family. Plus, in the last few months there have been some deaths in my family so I thought it was in my best interest to stay close to home (which is Oakland). It will be good for my family to be able to see me play, plus I can come back home when I need to."

Now he will encounter some former teammates as Sonoma matches up in league play with Chico State and that means two games a season against guard Damario Sims, who was with Silsdorf on the Oakland Soldiers club basketball team. UC San Diego is also in the conference, a team that features another Soldiers compatriot in guard Justin Brue.

Silsdorf was headed to Sacramento State back in 2008 after being recruited by then Hornet Coach Jerome Jenkins. But Jenkins was let go and the new coach wished to sign his own recruiting class. So Silsdorf turned to Chabot because "they were among the first to come up to me and the offense there runs through the big man."

He will major in kinesiology after earning a 3.7 grade point average during his time at Chabot.

Silsdorf’s advice to those high schoolers entering the recruiting process is "maintain your grades or you won’t be looked at and also keep in touch with the AAU people you know." He met Carl Foster while participating with the Soldiers -- "I’ve known him since the sixth grade" -- and noted that the longtime Bay Area basketball fixture was instrumental in helping him in his basketball journey to date.

About his growth in both basketball terms and personally since his high school days, Silsdorf said "My mindset has changed, the way I think about the game is different now when I’m on the court." Away from hoops, it’s "I take a lot of things into perspective -- what I have, how good I have it, and how long I’ve worked to achieve this."

Spoken like someone who has witnessed and experienced a great deal, always learning and ultimately benefiting from the ups and downs coming his way.