Northern California has always been known to produce some of the greatest point guards to ever touch the floor. However, the big man pool of the region has always been severely underrated. From arguably the greatest big man of all time in Bill Russel to a current day dunking legend in Aaron Gordon, Norcal deserves recognition for the talent at the post it's pumped out. In this article we’ll take a look at some NorCal bigs in college that could be next in carrying the torch.
Coleman Hawkins (Illinois)
The Antelope product has taken a big leap as one of the main focal points of one of the best teams in the country. Understandably coming off the bench and barely playing as a freshman on a top team, Coleman has transformed as an all you can do 4 man that has NBA scouts drooling. The sophomore has shown flashes of a skillset and size that is tailored to what pro teams are looking for in big man prospects. Playing 22 minutes a game, Coleman is averaging 8ppg, 6rpg, 3apg. Look for the potential-filled sophomore to keep improving.
Keshad Johnson (San Diego State)
The forward from Oakland might be the most intriguing big from NorCal as he’s seen his role increase by the year on one of the most successful programs in recent years. Being an energy man off the bench for back-back conference championship teams, Keshad has stayed the course and is now a starter for the team. Now as a junior he is averaging 7 ppg and 5 rpg on a solid program. What makes Keshad’s potential so high is his out of this world athleticism. The lengthy 6’8 Keshad possesses speed and a jumping ability that can rival any of the best athletes in the NBA. This is evident in him winning player of the week of the Mountain West Conference for his dominant double-double. Look for Keshad to keep improving, because skys the limit.
Andre Kelly (CAL)
The senior center out of Stockton might be the most traditional back to the basket big man in this list. With the departure of Matt Bradley, Cal needed to look for production from someone to compete in the elite PAC-12. Andre has certainly stepped up as he is averaging 16ppg and 9rpg which has helped Cal to its best start in 4 years. The most impressive feat of Andre’s season is how he is shooting at 60%, which just shows his dominance in the paint this season.
Tejon Sawyer (Cal Baptist)
The freshman from San Francisco is having a great first season as he is providing the newly promoted division one program program in CBU a scoring punch off the bench. He is providing the team 5ppg and 4pg in just 9 mins. Look for his production and performance to keep improving as the first year player is on the right track.
Dishon Jackson (Washington State)
A close to 7-foot prospect from Vallejo, Dishon had a stellar freshman year in the PAC-12, which landed him a TEAM USA training camp invite during the summer. Dishon is averaging 6.4ppg and 4rpg in his first two seasons playing in the PAC-12. Look for this promising big to keep on ascending.
Jay Allen-Tovar (New Mexico)
The San Jose product has taken a different route to division one hoops than other players on this list as he went to junior college after high school. This decision helped grab the attention of multiple division one programs. He now plays for New Mexico where he is giving them a solid 6ppg and 5pg while still getting better by the game.
Emeka Udenyi (Seattle U)
Another junior college transfer, the De La Salle product has had a great junior year for the redbirds. Averaging 7ppg and 6pg, Emeka is helping give a NorCal heavy roster extra beef in the middle with his impressive triple-double vs Northwest U
Riley Grigsby (Seattle U)
While playing the wing sometimes, Riley isn’t a stranger to playing downlow as in Archbishop Mitty he shared duties as their stretch 4. Being 6’6 Riley has transformed into a wing scorer, averaging 15.5 ppg the last two seasons. However, that time spent on the block has given Riley a finishing ability in the paint you can only learn with experience.
Deejuan Pruitt ( Southern Illinois)
The former Grant Pacer was one of the most exciting players in Norcal in his 2019 class. After a year of national JUCO, Deejaun found his D1 home at Southern Illinois. He has started 11 out of the 15 games so far in the season and is averaging 10pts and 7 rebounds in his RS freshman season.