Long Beach basketball fans got some great news last week, as Poly senior Justin Rene announced his commitment to Long Beach State. The Jackrabbits senior was the Moore League Player of the Year, and becomes the second Poly senior to commit collegiately in the last few weeks, as Giordan Williams recently announced his commitment to Santa Clara.
Rene said that he was happy to have the recruitment process come to an end.
“The whole process was very stressful,” he said. “I was supposed to go on an official to Riverside and they were stalling–that turned me off. Long Beach State has come to my games this year, they’ve been on my side and rooting for me the way the city should.”
There has been plenty of bad blood around Poly the last several years for the local school’s unwillingness to recruit their players. KJ Feagin (Santa Clara), Drew Buggs (Hawaii), Myles Johnson (Rutgers), and Zafir Williams (LMU) all said they would likely have gone to the school if offered a scholarship, but that offer never materialized. The hiring of Bobby Braswell this year seems to have changed the momentum, with LBSU coaches coming to games at Poly.
“They said I was going to be a pioneer for what they want to do, looking for Long Beach kids,” said Rene. “They said they want me to bring the Long Beach pride back into the program and show people what it means to play for their school.”
For Rene, that relationship immediately paid dividends. His announcement on social media that he was headed to the Pyramid was greeted with huge applause from Poly fans and LBSU fans alike.
“I saw all the love and support on social media,” said Rene. “The city has always supported me, and I knew people would be excited if it was Long Beach State.”