The 2019-20 Columbia College Basketball season was better than most would have ever imagined. The Jumpers finished with 26 wins and were one game away from reaching the California Community College Athletics Association elite-8.
Columbia set school records in consecutive wins to begin a season (12, which was extended to 14) and 3-point baskets in a game (18) at home against West Hills Lemoore. The Jumpers packed the Oak Pavilion night after night and put on a yearlong show for the hometown fans.
And when the season awards were announced, the Columbia players didn’t go unnoticed. The trio of Seth Coddington, Landis Spivey and Grayson Carper were Central Valley Conference first-team players, while Kaleb Carter was the CVC Defensive Player of the Year and Keith Shakes was a CVC first-team defender. Carter and freshman Deshawn Bartley received honorable mention.
“I’m happy for them, because they put so much work and time into the season,” Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt said of his all-conference players. “Ultimately, it’s nice to be recognized by your peers for work ethic and I think they’re deserving of it.”
Coddington is a two-year starter at Columbia. He finished the season with 13.8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds and five assists. He scored 20 or more points eight times and was one of the players Hoyt had trouble taking off the floor. Coddington was also placed on the all-state team.
“There have been a couple of guys who have been foundation pieces in the seven years that I’ve been here, and Seth is one of them,” Hoyt said. “He’s a guy who took us from really good to great. Everything that he’s about is what I’m about and what our program is about. It’s so hard to find guys like that. I really wish this was a four-year school so I could have him two more years.”
Spivey might go down as one of the top players to ever play for Hoyt. The sophomore from Langston Hughes Academy in Stockton was one of the deadliest shooters in the CVC. He averaged 17.1 points per game, pulled down 5.4 boards and dished 2.1 assists. Spivey scored double digits in 26 of 30 games, including a season-high 36 in a 104-78 win over Merced.
“He’s got to be one of the best finds we’ve had,” Hoyt said. “He’s an exceptional human being and you cannot not smile when you are around him. If you are travelling somewhere, you want him sitting by you. For a guy to play D6 high school basketball and playing against teams who are wearing sweatpants, to come in here and not shy down and take the coaching and then ultimately becoming a division 1 player, yeah, that’s one of the greatest success stories that we are going to have.”
Carper had an outstanding freshman season and was not only a first-team CVC player, he was also put on the CVC all-freshman team. In his first year of college basketball, Carper scored 16.5 points, had 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 4.1 assists. Carper could play defense, score from 3-point land, drive to the basket and throw down powerful dunks. Carper is one of the players Hoyt is leaning on for next year.
“When we got him, we got the best player in the Fresno area,” Hoyt said. “Now, it’s opened those doors and he’s going to be part of the recruiting efforts in the spring. But next year, he’s going to be expected to be a leader and that’s a really hard role. I think people just throw that word of ‘leader’ out there without knowing the difficulty of not only living with your peers, but leading them and being the example. He’s going to have that task placed upon him and he’s going to have to be an everyday guy.”
Carter was one of the big surprises for Columbia. As a freshman, he sat and watched behind former Jumper Yosnier Cobas. When it was his turn to shine, Carter didn’t squander his opportunity. He led California and set a Columbia record with 130 blocked shots and set a record of best field goal percentage at Columbia with 66.7. Carter had 11 blocks against Fresno City and had five or more rejections 10 times. He also had 10 or more rebounds eight times.
“The expectations weren’t nearly as close to what he ended up producing,” Hoyt said. “What he ended up doing and becoming, we did not expect that. He was phenomenal. This time last year, we told him that we were going with him and weren’t going to bring anyone else in and he ended up being the Defensive Player of the Year. You always have negative and positive surprises every year and he was definitely a positive surprise.”
Shakes only played one year for Columbia, but the sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., made a big impact. Typically the sixth man off the bench, Shakes knocked down 58 shots from downtown and averaged 11 points per game. Shakes scored a season-high 27 points in a road win over West Hills Coalinga and scored 10 or more points 14 times. He finished with 318 total points.
“He was a spark coming off the bench,” Hoyt said. “We’d start off slow, he’d get in there and that’d change things very quickly. He brought great intensity on the defensive end and had a fire to him and was willing to take big shots. He’s just a different weapon that most teams don’t have.”
Bartley got honorable mention and was placed on the CVC all-freshman team. The guard averaged 10.2 points per game, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He scored a career-high 30 points in a road win over Porterville.
“He grew the most out of everybody this year,” Hoyt said. “He struggled in the beginning trying to figure out what we were trying to do, how to play at this level and how to play for me. But he was open to improving and open to change. We got on the same page and as soon as that happened, he really started to play well. You could argue that if you looked at his numbers, he was also one of the best players in the league.”
Coddington, Carter, Spivey, Shakes and sophomore Kaden Sparks-Davis, all have opportunities to continue their basketball careers next year at four-year schools.