Hometown Report

Hometown Report: Westbrooks stars in East-West Shrine Game

Joe Davidson
Joe Davidson

Talk about bounding out of nowhere.

Ethan Westbrooks spent his youth in Oakland, flourished as a football player at Franklin High School and continued to grow into his shoulder pads as a late bloomer at Sacramento City College.

And he’s proof that Division II works just fine if it fits. At West Texas A&M, the defensive end led the country in sacks in 2012 with 191/2 and earned All-America honors He capped his senior season Saturday by earning Defensive MVP honors in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Westbrooks, 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, had two sacks and likely caught the eye of NFL executives needing a rush-end specialist. More than 100 Shrine players landed in NFL camps last summer.

“This was a great way to end my college career,” Westbrooks told the media after the game. “I always thought I could play at this level, and playing against guys on the same level or better than you always brings out the best.”

Hardwood updates

• University of Portland sophomore guard

Bryce Pressley

(Jesuit) had 16 points and nine assists in an 82-73 upset of then-No. 22 Gonzaga on Jan. 9, and he’s been a defensive stopper for the Pilots. The son of former Kings forward Harold Pressley was the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 22, against Princeton.

• Saint Mary’s junior

Brad Waldow

(Ponderosa) has scored in double digits in 18 of his team’s 19 games, including 22 on Saturday in a 79-73 victory over Pacific. Waldow, 6-9, has scored 20 or more three times this season and is one of four starters back for the Gaels’ defending West Coast Conference title team.


Brendan Lane

, a former Bee Player of the Year at Rocklin, is averaging 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds at Pepperdine. The 6-9 forward left UCLA amid turmoil in the program and a coaching change. The Waves play at Saint Mary’s on Thursday and at Pacific on Saturday.

• Pacific senior forward

Tony Gill

(Oakmont, Cosumnes River College) is averaging 10.7 points and 5.8 rebounds for first-year coach

Ron Verlin

, a graduate of Del Oro and Sacramento State.

• Oft-traveled

Josiah Turner

is playing for the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA Development League. The 6-3 guard and former Bee Player of the Year at Sacramento High is averaging 10.0 points and 4.1 assists in 12 games. Turner was suspended from Arizona after clashing with coaches and for off-the-court transgressions, including a DUI arrest. He briefly played in Hungary and Canada.


Darius Nelson

, the Sac-Joaquin Section’s second-leading all-time scorer from Sheldon, no longer is playing college basketball. The 6-7 forward, who had brief stops at UTEP and Cal State Fullerton, was slowed by injuries, but he hopes to play professionally.

Quick hits

• American River College offensive-line coach

Jon Osterhout

is in the running for the same position at UC Davis, his rival when he was an All-America lineman at Sacramento State.

• Sierra College has posted an opening for football coach despite a 6-5 season by interim coach

Ben Noonan

, who still wants the job.


Dannie Walker

will return as the Sac City football coach after the Panthers went 1-9, their worst record since 1979.

• Tight end

Ryan Otten

(Del Oro, San Jose State) has signed a free-agent contract with the San Diego Chargers.