Mr. Underrated: Devin Carson (Los Medanos College)
In the basketball world, playing at the Division 1 level is the most celebrated and is what young athletes strive for the most. The exposure and stigma that playing division 1 provides, is the main reason why young athletes dream of playing basketball at this level. However, not many are fortunate enough to play at this level, nor do they understand that there are different ways to reach this level other than the traditional straight out of high school route. For Rampage Alum Devin Carson, going the junior college route was the best way for him to try and achieve this goal.
Carson currently attends Los Medanos College (Pittsburg, CA) which is a junior college and is one of the top scorers in the state currently. He led the team in scoring last year, received all-conference honors, and was also able to lead his team to the 2nd round of the playoffs, before losing to Chabot College (Hayward, CA). Carson’s electrifying ability to score the basketball has put him on a few coaches radar, and is hopeful that he can earn a scholarship. Scoring high numbers isn’t new to Carson as he was also one of NorCal’s leading scorers in high school at Deer Valley High School (Antioch, CA).
My first experience with Carson was actually during the beginning of his sophomore year in high school at Cali-Hoop’s Frosh/Soph camp at Sonoma State. His skillset and pace of play for his age at the time, stood out the most. I remember telling myself I’m going to keep an eye on this kid because he may have what it takes to play up on our 17u team which was going to be loaded. That team featured Myron Amey (San Jose State), Landon Seaman (Menlo College), Jeremiah Jones (Cal State Stanislaus), Lucky Hampton (Cal Maritime) just to name a few. The original plan was to recruit him during high school season and invite him to tryouts, but the pandemic put a stop to that in the spring of 2020.
As our program stayed active during the pandemic, I was able to reconnect with Carson through training in the Antioch area and eventually get him running with us. It was pretty unique for him because he was able to run point for us at the end of Myron Amey’s run, and at the start of Will Heimbrodt’s (Seattle U) run with us. Carson discussed his experience playing AAU with Team Rampage independently.
“My experience playing independent aau was very good. Being able to play with a team of all local guys from cities all throughout the bay and go against the top teams in the country was something you couldn’t get anywhere else besides Team Rampage. Also, just spending more time with the guys on the team, I’m still close with a lot of my teammates to this day”.
Carson played phenomenal with us and was able to play against high level competition in front of lots of coaches. Despite the exposure, many coaches believed he needed to get stronger which led to the decision to go the junior college route.
“I think the biggest adjustment for me going from Highschool to Juco was definitely the weight room and how many dogs there are. Every game your going against people who are fighting for the same opportunity as you to make it to the next level. You have to be mentally and physically prepared every single game and it’s a long season”.
Many high school athletes struggle with the reality that junior college may be the only route for them, in order to achieve their long term goal. Junior college isn’t glorified, doesn’t have a lot of fans outside of family & friends, and doesn’t provide the college like feel that 4 year universities give. However, junior college is a great tool to get your academics in order as well as work on your overall game. It also gives you extra time to get recruited if you didn’t get the interest right after high school.
“My experience at the juco level has been filled with many challenges physically and mentally but has helped me a lot as in growing as a man and finding myself. I think I grew up real quick once I got my first experience of juco basketball because it was a reality check for me honestly”.
Carson also explained how young athletes shouldn’t overlook junior college and how it can be a restart for their careers to get back on track.
“I would tell them to not think your too good to go juco for a year or two to find yourself. I was the same way in Highschool thinking I would never go the juco route but In reality I wasn’t handling my business off the court so I had no other option but to go to Juco with a fresh start and get my things together”.
With the season still in the beginning stages, there is still a lot of time for Carson to obtain a scholarship. He is currently still available but has spoken to a few schools over the past few months. Regardless of the outcome, Carson is optimistic that he will not only earn a scholarship, but also have the chance to play beyond college.
“I do see myself playing after college. As long as I continue to stay discipline and consistent on and off the court I think I can go as far as possible. But most importantly just work hard. That work is gonna show every time”.