If three incoming Big 5 Conference Most Valuable Players weren’t enough for newly minted College of the Redwoods basketball head coach Ryan Bisio, perhaps four will be.
Thomas Nelson, a former Arcata High player and Big 5 MVP of the 2016-17 season while playing under Bisio during the coach’s 4-year tenure at the school, will join Redwoods this year after red-shirting with the team last season.
Nelson played for Santa Rosa Junior College during the 2017-18 season, during which the Bear Cubs went 22-5 and reached the Elite 8 tournament, an end-of-season playoff featuring the four best junior college teams from the northern region of the state and the four best from the southern region.
During his senior season at Arcata, Nelson led the Tigers with 14.6 points per game and guided the team to a 22-5 overall record, an 8-0 conference record and a Big 5 championship.
“Thomas understands the ingredients which make up championship-level basketball,” Bisio said. “He’s gone to the state playoffs in high school and junior college. There is a lot he can offer his teammates in terms of the focus and connectivity it takes to win at a high level.”
Nelson, a 6-foot-3 forward, will join one of the more talented freshman classes in Redwoods basketball history, featuring three former Big 5 MVPs — Fortuna High’s Drew Gillette, Donald Willis and Zac Claus — as well as Fortuna’s Bradley Willis and a pair of All-Humboldt-Del Norte League selections from McKinleyville High, AJ Stubbs and Isaac Puzz.
The aforementioned 6-man class was introduced on Tuesday during a press conference at Redwoods.