By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Lots of National Letters of Intent are being signed by Napa Valley College men’s basketball players. You can add Calistoga’s Joe Fons to the list, on Tuesday he signed to play basketball at Northern Montana State University.
“It’s unbelievable, I can’t put it into words how happy I am to receive money to go to school and play basketball — again it’s a dream come true,” Fons said of the opportunity to be moving on to play division I NAIA basketball.
Fons, a 2014 Calistoga High graduate, averaged 8.4 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game to help lead the Storm (16-11 overall, 12-4 Bay Valley Conference) to one of the best seasons in school history.
“The one thing you could always count on was Joe’s effort and energy,” Napa Valley College men’s basketball coach Steve Ball said of Fons. “He finishes really well with a variety of different ways around the basket, shoots the three, runs the floor, and then it’s no coincidence that the two games that we lost to teams that aren’t named Yuba were the games that Joe sprained his ankle and sat out a game, so without him we struggled.”
Fons was solid from the field too as he shot 54.6% to go along with 34.9% from three-point range.
During the 2016-17 season Fons grey shirted to get his academics in line and to take a mental break from basketball. He says that was a big year for his growth as a person and student-athlete.
“It can be difficult, but more often than not it’s a relief of ‘ok I can sit back here a little bit more and focus on actually learning’ — there’s not the time crunch of having a game on Wednesday and having to get this now, you can relax and take in a lot more in that year,” Ball explained of the pros of using the grey shirt year.
“Just to take the year off, kinda a mental year off just to focus on school, focus on basketball like In said, and take that year off to just kinda find myself and just kinda mature I guess in a way,” Fons explained as to why he grey shirted.
Also, in his sophomore season at NVC he shot 90.6% from the freethrow line, which was key at the end of games for the Storm.
He also had one other offer from Cal Maritime in Vallejo, but the small-town feel is what drew him to sign with NMSU.
“I think what I was saying earlier I love California, I love Northern California, but I think I just want to experience a new place,” Fons added on why he chose NMSU. “I plan on traveling my next couple years, whatever happens, and just wanting to get out and experience just a whole new environment. That’s what this decision was based on.”
When Fons joins the Polar Bears he will be a junior. Northern Montana State went 19-12 and 9-9 in the Frontier Conference. They lost to Rocky Mountain College in the first round of the Frontier Conference tournament.
Fons will major in the health field.