Signed: Courtenay Brown

Laney athlete celebrates SF State admission with signing ceremony in gym

Laney’s star shooting guard Courtenay Brown signed a letter of intent to attend San Francisco State University in the fall. The signing ceremony was held in the Laney College gym on April 26. Her coach, family, and friends were there to congratulate her.

She accepted a full scholarship to the university where she plans to major in kinesiology. She will be a shooting guard for SFSU’s basketball team, the Gators, who play in the NCAA division II.

After she graduates from SFSU Brown wants to become either an athletic trainer or work in rehabilitating athletes after injuries.

Brown lived in Stockton and attended Weston Ranch High School, but during her junior year, she went to Encinal High School in Alameda where she helped their basketball team into the playoffs. For her senior year she returned to Stockton to live with her father Anthony Brown.

Although Brown was recruited by Humbolt State University out of high school, she decided to attend a community college to play basketball. She didn’t want to attend Humboldt State University, but she did want a basketball scholarship to finance her education.

Her sister, Jordan Brown, who lived in Alameda, had played for Laney, so Brown was familiar with the school.

Brown shows her lighter side at the signing ceremony in the Laney College gym.

Brown has been a starter on the team since she came in as a red shirt in 2014. “I had a much larger role [this year],” she said.

This season Brown averaged 18 points per game overall and 21.3 in the conference.

Approximately three games into the Bay Valley Conference basketball season, the number of players on the Laney College Eagles basketball team was greatly reduced. Due to injuries and eligibility issues, the squad went from 12 to five players.

When asked if this created a difficult situation for her, Brown replied that it didn’t because all five of the remaining players had to dedicate themselves “a little more to playing harder.”

She explained that without the ability to switch out players to rest, ”I never had to tell anyone to play harder because we already were.” Although the team was playing hard, Brown admitted that anyone fouling out would have been a big problem.

Fortunately, the team was able to avoid this fate until the last game of its season, the championship game against Solano.

Marshall football should get help in mid-year signing period

After its most difficult season in nearly a decade, it became clear Marshall needed immediate, athletic help at many positions.

As the mid-year junior-college signing period begins Wednesday, such help may be on the way. The Thundering Herd is expected sign as many as four juco standouts to binding letters of intent.

Two of those played in the California juco circuit, one is a Florida native who played in Iowa and the other is a Georgia native who played in Kansas.

To hear their juco coaches talk — they’re biased, of course — they just might be playmakers the MU programs need.

Armani Levias stands out in that group because of stature, at the least. He is a big tight end from Laney College in Oakland, California, who was once a pocket-passing prospect in high school.

That was when he was 215 pounds.

“He’s a difference-maker because he’s 6-5, 250 pounds and can move,” said Laney coach John Beam. “He’s got really good hands — most of his catches are for touchdowns because when we get in the red zone, he creates a lot of mismatches. And he’s learning to become a physical blocker.”

Levias hails from of Pittsburg, California, not far east from Oakland. He would follow the footsteps of Laney alums Chuck Walker and Troy Evans, both Herd wide receivers.

In the Fresno area, Artis Johnson wasn’t cheated out of playing time at Reedley College. He played strong safety, but did so much more.

His coach says he won’t sign Wednesday, but expects the Texas native to do so later in the period, which lasts through Jan. 17. Johnson redshirted after an injury his first season, so he would have two years to play two at Marshall.

“He was our strong safety, outside linebacker and also our ‘wildcat’ quarterback,” said coach Eric Marty. “He returned kicks, he did it all.

“He’s 6-1, 210 or 215 and looks the part. He’s explosive and changes directions well. He’s going to bring a lot of versatility as far as the ability to play field safety, or roll down into that outside linebacker position. He’s one of the best athletes on our team.”

The Herd could be picking up a quick slot receiver in Marcel Williams. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound native of Bunnell, Florida, played at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa City, Iowa.

His 2016 season was cut short by an injury to his thumb, for which he had surgery. His coach, Jesse Montalto, expects Williams to be full-go next month.

“He’s a very good football player, smart player. He actually played both ways for us a freshman,” Montalto said. “But he’s explosive. He’s as fast a kid as you’ll find at this level. He ran good times this summer; I think he ran as low as a 4.41 [40-yard dash].”

The fourth reported juco commitment is cornerback Kereon Merrell, a native of Vienna, Georgia, who played at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. It is not clear when he will sign.

Those who sign this week are expected to begin classes at Marshall in January and participate in spring practice.