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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Top-notch basketball recruit signs with Chico State

High school player from West Sacramento and Chico State recruit Justin Briggs has signed his Letter of Intent to join the Wildcats next season. Photo courtesy of Lucas Gabriel

Wildcat cub Justin Briggs will be joining the Chico State men’s basketball team in the fall.

The 6 foot 9 inch power forward of River City High School in West Sacramento signed his Letter of Intent to become a Wildcat on April 20.

Briggs was a top-notch recruit and was receiving attention from multiple basketball programs, including Division I schools.

Chico State men’s basketball assistant coach Lucas Gabriel said that he and head coach Greg Clink really wanted Briggs to join the Wildcats. Gabriel started recruiting the Division I-caliber player from July up until he signed in April.

“We sent him something from Chico State every day of the week,” Gabriel said. “Every single day in the mail, he was being reminded that Chico State wants him.”

The vigorous recruiting by Gabriel and Clink paid off.

Chico State was very active and always in his hip pocket, Briggs said.

“Chico State recruited me harder than any other program in the country,” he said. “I want to go to a special place where I felt wanted.”

Briggs will make a great addition to the basketball team’s close-knit group, Gabriel said.

“We recruit people with high character into our program,” he said. “Justin fits into that category really well.”

Aside from having the charisma to fit into his new Wildcat family, Briggs also has the skill sets to make an impact on the court.

“He’s the best shot blocker I’ve ever recruited,” Gabriel said.

Briggs averaged four blocks a game for the River City High School Raiders in the 2014-15 season, said Greg Clark, the team’s head coach.

In addition to his defensive prowess, Briggs has the offensive side to his game as well.

“He has a really nice, soft touch around the basket,” Clark said.

Briggs has averaged 14 points a game on the season. He scored a total of 365 points in 26 games played, according to MaxPreps, an active high school sports statistics website.

The Raider phenomenon played a big role during his first year in the school’s varsity team. Briggs took the team to its first league championship since 1997.

The Raiders won the championship again this year.

Briggs was a main contributor to the River City’s success, Clark said, and he helped put the team in the record books as the first to win back-to-back league championships in school history.

In Clark’s three years as a varsity head coach, Briggs is the first player he’s had receive a scholarship from a four-year university.

The Wildcat coaches’ persistent recruiting was only half of the reason why Briggs committed. He envisioned himself working for the program and playing in Acker Gym in front of a thousand fans and friends, he said.

“I chose Chico because when I saw the campus at my visit and saw the team and coaches playing and working with each other,” Briggs said, “I was able to see myself being there and doing the same exact thing.”

Dylan Wakefield can be reached at [email protected] or @dylan_wakefield on Twitter.

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