October 15, 2015

The victors are victorious

Kevin McCarthy

There is an unanswerable debate regarding relationships: is it opposites that attract or is it similarities? Not that it has to solely be one or the other but what is known is it's the latter in the case of Calvin Geraci and Chico State hoops. Both are winners and each were smitten with the success of the other.

photo of Calvin Geraci

The 6-foot-4 San Marin High and Lakeshow guard has committed to the Wildcats, members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). His most recent numerical bonafides are 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a junior and this production earned him inclusion on the First Team All Marin County Athletic League.

“I think I've missed only one buzzer beater that I can recall,” Geraci said. “I like being under pressure and taking the last shot. I've also made clutch free throws all my life.”

Likewise, Chico State has participated in the NCAA championship tournament in each of the last four years. In 2014-15, it was another regular season conference championship on the basis of an 18-4 CCAA record.

So why the decision to go with the Cats? “It was the winning culture, with all the championships and good energy,” Geraci explained. “When you walk around the campus and town, Chico State basketball is a priority. I also loved the coaching staff and the guys. I felt they really wanted me.” There are also quite the number of other northern California talents already on the roster and Geraci earlier attended Wildcat basketball camps so a familiarity to some degree was already present..

About himself, Geraci is grounded. “I definitely think my overall smartness on the court is my best skill. I'm not flashy and I'm not going to excite with my athleticism so I use the smart factor.” There is also the element of leadership. “I get along with literally anyone and I can bring a ton of people together. Sometimes I'll make a joke and that helps with everyone starting to get along. I treat everyone with respect.”

But it almost wasn't basketball that took over. “I was an intense skateboarder. It sounds really funny but that's all I did. I would go to skateparks and skate shops everyday—I really wanted to be a pro skateboarder But when we moved to Novato, I got a call from a CYO coach and it grew from there. I began going outside and playing for five hours. I don't think this [his hoops passion] ever would have grown otherwise.”

He also credits an NBA icon as well as an early basketball coach for being major influences. “I was definitely a huge Michael Jordan fan when I was a kid. I loved watching him. Also, a coach named Michael Smith, who sort of looked like Bill Russell, really got me to play hard on every drill and in every practice.”

As for a college major, Geraci offered, “kinesiology and psychology. I want to be a sports psychologist.” That attraction came about because “at the end of my sophomore year, I had trouble because I was feeling a tremendous amount of pressure. A sport psychologist helped me. Now, I have a totally positive view.”

He relayed a couple of his best moments thus far playing for San Marin. “My freshman year, I was on varsity and we were playing our town rival. I hit eight threes in a row. The gym was sold out and the place was crazy. I was pulled with two minutes left.” He departed to thunderous applause.

“This last year, our fans made three huge oversize fatheads of me. We were playing for the league banner and the gym was filled with our students even though where we were playing was located 45 minutes away. They were waving the fatheads and cheering. With seven seconds left, I got the ball and shot a floater to win. Our fans tackled me on the court.”