John Fenton had the height to play college basketball, but Central Catholic's 6-foot-9 center didn't have the muscle to survive a full college season playing under the basket.
He realized that as his Raiders were eliminated from the Northern California playoffs last season, and Fenton spent the offseason correcting that.
"I put on 15, 20 pounds over the summer, because I'll need to hold my ground this year," said Fenton, who led Central to second place in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs a year ago.
Modesto Bee - BART AH YOUfirstname.lastname@example.org
Central Catholic High School's #34- John Fenton battles against defender Bentley High School's #44-Ben Hummel during NorCal hoops at Big Valley High School, Wednesday evening.
March 7, 2012
Fenton was on The Bee's all-Stanislaus District team after averaging 15.8 points, 16.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game.
He's got one more season to improve those numbers with the Raiders, then he takes off for Colgate University after accepting a scholarship and signing a letter of intent with the New York school. Colgate's annual tuition and fees are estimated at $44,640.
Fenton visited a number of California schools, including University of the Pacific, but Colgate won the competition.
He was influenced by the schedule (Colgate debuts this season in Maui, with Illinois and Marquette its early foes) and the academics (U.S. News rates Colgate No. 18 in the nation for liberal arts colleges).
He was one of four Raiders to sign Wednesday, the first day high school seniors in volleyball, baseball, basketball could commit to colleges. Many athletes express an oral commitment months before signing, but nothing's official until pen gets to paper.
Central's list features Cassie Aiello, who signed with Cal for crew. It's the second year in a row Central had a rower sign: Madeline O'Brien committed to Columbia University's rowing team in 2011.
The Raiders' Andrew Bonner, named Northern California Junior Golfer of the Year by the Golf Association of Northern California, selected Colorado over Oregon as his pick for golf. A transfer from Ripon High, Bonner sat his junior season but will play for the Raiders this spring. Josie Flores signed with Utah Valley's softball program.
In other signing notes:
Johansen's Gabrielle Maurice, The Bee's Player of the Year the last two seasons, followed through on a verbal promise to UCLA by signing. She committed to the Bruins as a sophomore, and was selected to ESPN's all-America team last spring after hitting .614 with nine home runs.
NorCal Valley Baseball, a Modesto-based travel program, had seven players sign with Division 1 schools. East Union's Jordan Kron (Riverside), Beyer's Dempsey Grover (Santa Barbara) and Buhach Colony's Dalton Jefferies (Cal) were the local players.
Turlock's Tyler Murphy, MVP of last June's Stanislaus County All-Star Game, is going to St. Mary's of Moraga as a third baseman/pitcher.