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Welcome to Cerritos Falcons Basketball

Cerritos is one of the best community college basketball teams in the region

Cerritos College has a successful history of former students going on to play professional football and baseball. But the first that many people might have heard of the Falcons men’s basketball program was on the recent hit Netflix show, Last Chance U.

The show has followed sports teams at community college level in a number of different locations, with the most recent seasons concentrating on the East Los Angeles College Huskies. As the college is a local rival to the Falcons, it has meant that Cerritos has also featured. These are players hoping to one day win championships and feature on the best online betting sites. But, for now, they are studying and playing right here in Cerritos.

Falcons Basketball

Now playing in the South Coast Conference South Division, the Falcons have been one of the strongest teams for quite a while now. In a particularly competitive league, Cerritos has more than held its own and has regularly finished first in the division. In fact, there have been four straight divisional triumphs, interrupted by the 2020-21 season that was cancelled because of COVID.

The intense rivalry that exists in this part of California has meant that there has not been a state championship for Cerritos since 1999. That was the most recent of five that the Falcons have celebrated in their history. The late 1980s and 1990s were the real glory years but hopefully the Falcons can reach another championship game very soon.

Coach May

One of the reasons for the Falcons’ continued success has been the tenure of the current head coach, Russ May. Now coaching his 14th season at Cerritos, May has proved that he is the right man for the job and has produced a winning ethic since taking over in 2009.

May has led the Falcons to the postseason in eight of the seasons in charge, most recently last year when Cerritos rounded off a 17-11 regular season before losing to the ELAC Huskies – stars of Last Chance U – in the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons had earned the number ten seed for the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

Before becoming the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Cerritos, May was the Los Alamitos Griffins high school coach. He won nine league championships in just ten seasons and won CIF crowns in 2006 and 2007. May actually played for Cerritos for two years in 1989-1991, and had previously worked as an assistant coach from 1994-1999.

Although Coach May has a way to go to emulate the achievements of some of the previous head coaches at Cerritos, he can now boast the most wins ever of any basketball coach at the college.

Figure 2 You may have seen the Falcons on Last Chance U

Notable Alumni

Although there have been some very good basketball teams in Falcons history, making it to the big league is another level altogether. For a college of Cerritos’ size, the fact that there are three alumni who went on to play in the NBA is a real achievement.

Paul Ruffner attended Cerritos in late 1960s and only died last year. After spending two years with the Falcons, including the 1968 state championship team, he went to BYU before being drafted by the Chicago Bulls. He also played for the Pittsburgh Condors, Buffalo Braves and Spirit of St. Louis before retiring in 1975.

Lorenzo Romar is now a basketball coach at Pepperdine, but played at Cerritos from 1976-78 before transferring to Division I Washington. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and also played in Milwaukee and Detroit.

Our final NBA Cerritos alumnus is Tom Tolbert. He was a Falcon for one season before transferring to Arizona and getting drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. He played for a number of NBA teams before becoming a radio and TV commentator. His kind of life is what many of the current players will be aspiring to – although Cerritos aims to give them a basis for professional life, whatever the career.