Gio Magdaleno holds a Napa Valley College jersey during his signing day, Thursday afternoon at Ferndale High. (Contributed/Ferndale High Athletics)
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Gio Magdaleno, a two-year varsity player and team captain last season for the Ferndale High boys’ basketball team, inked his name on a letter of intent to join the Napa Valley College Storm, Thursday afternoon at Ferndale High.

“We are bringing Gio in because he is a good fit for our program. He’s a gym rat and he’s very passionate about the game,” Napa’s head coach Steve Ball said, a former South Fork player himself. “He’s the first Humboldt guy we’ve brought in since I’ve been here and we are happy to have him.”

Magdaleno, a floor-general type point guard with the ability to both set up his team and, if necessary, create an open shot, led Ferndale to a 9-15 overall record last season after a 10-15 run his junior season. He also was named to the All Humboldt-Del Norte League Little 4 Conference team his junior year, 2017-18, and received an honorable mention his senior year. Going back to eighth grade, Magdaleno, a Rio Dell Middle School student at the time, won the annual Jaycees Tournament in Crescent City.

His head coach for each of the least two seasons, Clint McClurg, said two things in particular stand out about his now former point guard: passion and patience.

“He’s definitely a passionate player. You can see it after games — he’ll be exhausted and you can see he exhorted everything he has,” McClurg said.

Magdaleno is the first Ferndale product to play basketball at the next level straight out of high school since James Slade, who graduated in 2011 and played two seasons at College of the Redwoods before moving on to Sonoma State.

A two-sport athlete, Magdaleno says he picked up many of the skills he uses on the court from the field.

“Football really gave me a lot of hand-eye coordination and footwork, and a lot of strength as well,” he said.

His soon-to-be coach, Ball, said it’s always a plus when a prospective recruit has a football background.

“The intangibles he has from football — mental, and physical toughness — carry over well to basketball. … It’s a hard transition from the slower-paced style of game he has played in the Little 4 over to the collegiate level. But I think having that background will help.”

Magdaleno was additionally recruited by Santa Rosa Junior College, College of the Siskiyous and College of the Redwoods.

He also played AAU ball for Factory Pride alongside Fortuna’s Zac Claus, Bradley Willis, Donald Willis, Drew Gillette and McKinleyville’s AJ Stubbs and Isaac Puzz.

The aforementioned six players all committed to Redwoods on March 12.

Magdaleno said he chose Napa, however, because “out of all of them, (Napa) made me feel the most comfortable. They really just seemed like they cared.”

He will join a Napa team coming off a 5-23 season.

 

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