Wednesday, April 29, 2015

KCKCC's CJ Vallejo 'perfect fit' for Benedictine basketball team


Kansas City Kansas Community College sharpshooter CJ Vallejo was just what Benedictine College Coach Ryan Moody was looking for in rebuilding his Raven basketball team that qualified for the NAIA Division I national tournament this past spring.

“He’s the perfect fit,” said Moody, who lost six seniors from this year’s 24-9 team. “He’s a great student, a great person and clearly a great basketball player. We like to focus our recruiting on Kansas kids and as a Bishop Ward graduate, he’s a great fit because we have a lot of Ward students.”

One of KCKCC’s all-time best 3-point shooters, Vallejo’s 96 treys this year tied him for fourth for most 3-pointers in a single season  while his 43.8 percent shooting from 3-point ranks him among KCKCC’s all-time leaders.

“We graduated a player who finished fourth in all-time 3-point shooting so CJ’s ability to shoot from the outside was just what we were looking for,” said Moody.

The Blue Devils’ leading scorer with a 15.6-point average, the 6-4 Vallejo earned first team All-Jayhawk and All-Region VI honors.

A 45.3 percent shooter from the field, Vallejo was 36 of 39 from the free throw line, an all-time KCKCC best. Also third in assists (1.7) and rebounding (4.1), Vallejo scored in double figures in 22 of 29 games with career highs of  37 points and 9-of-12 3-pointers in an 87-76 win over Wentworth.

For Vallejo, signing a letter of intent for a full ride scholarship to Benedictine was a great reward for his dedication and persistence over the past three seasons.

A 2012 graduate of  Bishop Ward, Vallejo played the fall semester at KCKCC only to be ruled academically ineligible the second semester.

“Coach (Kelley) Newton came in the next year and we decided I should redshirt last year which was great for me,” said Vallejo. “It helped tremendously both with my grades and my knowledge of the game.”

Not only did Vallejo lead KCKCC in scoring, he helped the Blue Devils finish 23-9 and reach the finals of the NJCAA Division II regional championship.