CARLSBAD — Travis Fuller, Tommy McCarthy and Brady Twombly each dreamed of one day becoming Division 1 basketball players.
On Nov. 12, they made that dream a reality when the trio signed their national letters of intent to play college basketball beginning in 2015.
Fuller, a 6-foot-9 forward, signed with Brown University; Twombly, a 6-foot-6 wing, signed with Northern Arizona and McCarthy, a 6-foot-1 point guard, signed with Harvard University.
It marks the first time in recent memory in North County where three players in the same graduating class have signed to Division 1 universities.
“Having three Division 1 players at our school I think is an outcome of all the hard work we put in and the winning culture that we have at LCC,” said McCarthy, who started his career at Torrey Pines before transferring to La Costa Canyon his sophomore year.
La Costa Canyon Head Coach David Cassaw, who has coached several basketball players who have gone on to play at the Division 1 level — including NBA standout Chase Budinger — acknowledged that this was a unique occurrence.
“It is obviously a point of pride to have that happen,” Cassaw said of his trio. “While I want to be proud of what they collectively accomplished, at the same time I want them to get their own individual recognition. Each one of them has done a great job to get where they are at, and with Tommy and Travis committing to Ivy League schools, it obviously shows the work they put in the classroom.”
The 2015 LCC class was identified early on has having at least four players who could potentially play Division 1 basketball – Patrick Fisher was the fourth, but he has since transferred to Vermont Academy on the East Coast. But realizing that goal was anything but guaranteed. Each player put in lots of hours during the season and during spring and summer club-basketball seasons to accomplish their goals, Cassaw said.
“They all had to push each other, and in some sense they did that together, by pushing each other during practice, and then of course with their travel teams,” Cassaw said. “Each one of those guys had to go out and make sure they did everything they needed to do.”
For Fuller, this required him to get physically stronger. McCarthy worked on shedding the label of undersized shooting guard, and Twombly improved his overall conditioning.
As they each made those improvements, college interest soon followed. All three players had their choice of colleges by the time they began to narrow down their lists during the fall.
McCarthy said making the decision was both exciting and a relief entering into a season where the Mavs again have high expectations.
“Committing before the season definitely took a lot of pressure off of me, knowing that I just get to go out there and play to win, not having to deal with the stress of the recruiting process,” he said.
The distinction of having three players as talented as La Costa Canyon’s trio brings with it high expectations as well as the maximum effort from opponents who would want nothing more than to topple a team that experts say is the consensus No. 1 team entering into the season.
This is nothing new at the South Carlsbad school, which has a storied winning tradition, players and coaches said.
“I am not sure how much bigger the target can get,” Cassaw said. “The whole target thing is good for motivation for us, but I think it has almost been a theme for us. I guess ewe are used to it, and welcome it and use it as motivation.”
McCarthy echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“I think that definitely raises the expectations for our team, but it’s nothing we aren’t used to,” he said. “Playing at LCC, we are always going to have a target on our backs and we are always going to get everybody’s best shot because of the success we have had. We just have to treat every game the same and respect all of our opponents.”