Clovis News

Buchanan's Alex Fertig 'a steal' for CSU Monterey

He's a 6-foot-3 guard who scored the sixth-most points in Central Section history, ran the floor without a blink since he was a freshman and helped turn a nothing program into a 96-game winner amid high-level competition in four seasons at Buchanan High.

Alex Fertig, Clovis coach John Jones simply says, "Dribbled, passed and shot as well as any player in the Valley. He's a pretty special kid."

Yet apparently not special enough to earn a Division I college scholarship.

"Honestly, it's a head-scratcher for me," says Buchanan's Eric Swain, who will coach Fertig's final prep appearance for the City today at 7:30 p.m. in the City/County All-Star Boys Basketball Game at Hoover.

Swain, also making a final curtain call after recently accepting a position as Clovis North's athletic director, knows the major-college book on his point guard: "Not a true point guard; doesn't shoot the ball well enough to be a considered a shooting guard; and not athletic enough to be a wing."

All of which turns Swain's stomach: "I just can't believe it. He's just a basketball player. And what he maybe lacks in height, ability to jump and move, he makes up for with IQ."

Getting "a steal," Jones says, is Cal State Monterey Bay, a D-II school and member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Fertig figures to get an early opportunity to play at a Seaside-based program that went 3-23 overall and 2-20 in the conference last season while looking up at the likes of Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona and Humboldt State.

"I understand a little bit that some D-I schools were a little afraid of his athleticism and what position he fits in," Jones says. "But, at the same time, college basketball is a game of skills, and Alex has them. Plus, he always did things at his pace and was never out of control. That's hard to find in high school.

Fertig's 2,287 career points, among section leaders, trail only Washington's Tre'Von Willis (2,843, 2003-06), Central Valley Christian's Grant Verhoeven (2,598, 2009-12), Garces' Stephon Carter (2,589, 2006-09), Washington's DeShawn Stevenson (2,456, 1997-2000) and Memorial's Roscoe Pondexter (2,288, 1968-71), according to section historian Bob Barnett.

This season, the Tri-River Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player averaged 25.7 points for a 24-5 team -- both school records.

He also checks out with a 3.67 GPA.

"Early in my career," he says, "I knew there's nothing I could do to get my name out there other than playing as well as I could. Some thing's fell through, but I wanted to stay on the West Coast.

"I'm real happy with the Monterey campus, coaches, staff and players. And I'd much rather go to a D-II program and try to be the best player I can than have a crummy four years at some random D-I school."

Seeing stars

This week's Fresno City/County All-Star Games:

-- Basketball: Today, Hoover High (girls 5:30 p.m., boys 7:30 p.m.) Tickets: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors (60-older).

-- Football: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lamonica Stadium

-- Boys volleyball: 6 p.m. Friday, Fresno State North Gym