The following is a list of some of the top male athletes who excelled for the Pima Aztecs in the last decade (2010-19):
Ricky Gordillo, a midfielder, was named second-team United Soccer Coaches Junior College Men’s Division I All-American in consecutive years (2018 and 2019). He became eligible for the status after being selected first team All-West region. Gordillo missed the first six games of this season but started in the final 15 games. He tied for sixth-most in the nation with 15 assists to go along with four goals. Also named second team NJCAA All-American as well as first team All-ACCAC/NJCAA All-Region I in 2019.
Abram Carrasco, formerly a Cholla standout, is now a standout at Westmont College. He was named a first-team NJCAA All-American, the fourth under coach Brian Peabody. Carrasco led the Aztecs with a 19.8 scoring average as he broke the Pima school record in points in a two-year career. He passed fellow NJCAA All-American Greg Cook (1980) to become the all-time leader with 1,310 points.
Robby Wilson, a former Salpointe standout, helped the Aztecs finish as the national runner-up and win two ACCAC championships. Named first team All-ACCAC in 2018-19. Averaged a double-double as a sophomore. Initially a football player out of Dennis Bene’s program, he went to Adams State out of high school. He has two years of eligibility playing basketball at Arizona Christian.
Kennedy Koehler had 22 double-doubles in 2018-19. He led all players with 35 points and 17 rebounds in the consolation championship of last year’s NJCAA Division II national tournament. Koehler averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds a game to earn All-Tournament honors. Now playing at UC Davis.
Derik Hall, a former Sahuaro standout who initially signed to play at NAU, was a 2018 first-team All-WSFL defensive back leading Pima with 83 tackles. He was also on WSFL All-Region Team. He was chosen GridironRR.com JUCO first team All-American.
Hugo Kametani of Japan became the first soccer player in Pima history to earn the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Division I National Player of the Year in 2018. Kametani scored the game-winning goal to give the Aztecs their first NJCAA Division I national championship. He scored a program-record of 30 goals; seven were game-winners. He played and started in all 28 games. He went on to the play in the United Soccer League.
Nils Roth of Switzerland was a 2018 first-team United Soccer Coaches All-American as a goalkeeper helping lead the Aztecs to the NJCAA Division I championship. Finished his career this season with the Aztecs compiling a 34-4-2 record with 145 saves (save percentage of 85.3 percent).
Deion James, an Empire grad, was selected the NJCAA Division II National Player of the Year in 2017-18. He was also an NJCAA first-team All-American. Averaged 20.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and one blocked shot. Recorded 20 double-doubles while helping the Aztecs to a 22-win season, the most for the program since 1989-90, and 13 ACCAC conference wins, the best win total since the 2000-01 season. James went on to play at Colorado State and Washington State. Sadly had to end his career this season with the Cougars because of a heart infection.
Keven Biggs, formerly of Cienega, was second-team NJCAA All-American in 2017-18. A 6-foot-4 guard, he helped power Pima to a NJCAA DII national runner-up finish and a 31-5 record. He was a first-team All-ACCAC and first-team All-Region I selection and also the Region I Tournament MVP.
A.J. Valenzuela, a Desert View soccer standout, was a first-team NJCAA All-American and United Soccer Coaches first-team All-American in 2017. Led Pima to third-place finish that year. Was also named the ACCAC/Region I Player of the Year. Helped his team go 19-5-3 overall and finish third in the NJCAA national tournament in 2017. Went on to play at San Diego State before signing with FC Tucson.
Julian Gaona, a Tucson High grad, was a first-team NJCAA All-American soccer player in 2017. A prolific-scoring forward, Gaona amassed 31 goals and added 12 assists in 45 appearances in his Pima career. In 2017, Gaona scored six match-winning goals. He signed to play with FC Tucson.
Jeff Cotton of Marana Mountain View was selected a 2016 NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American. He was first-team all-region and first-team All-Western States Football League. He caught 43 passes for 837 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore and led the WSFL with 93 receiving yards per game. He went on to play at Idaho.
Alejandro Gonzalez, a Flowing Wells grad, was a first-Team All-ACCAC pick as a midfielder in soccer in 2016 with 16 goals and eight assists his last season. He appeared in 52 matches over two seasons at Pima and scored 24 goals while providing 13 assists. Later signed with FC Tucson.
Jason Romero was named to the 2015 NJCAA Division I first team All-American and selected the ACCAC Division I Player of the Year while playing for Pima. In 23 games, he scored a school-record 32 goals, and added 12 assists. Led Pima to a 21-4-2 record and a third-place finish in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in 2015. He first went to UCLA after Pima before transferring to Portland. Signed with FC Tucson.
Wesley Payne, 2015 first-team NJCAA All-American at linebacker, leading Pima with 149 tackles and was the WSFL Defensive Player of the Year as well as the ACCAC Defensive Player of the Year. He advanced to Oregon State.
Landry Payne, 2015 first-team NJCAA All-American at cornerback. ALL- WSFL first-team and ACCAC first team selection. Had 54 tackles, five interceptions and six pass breakups in 2015. Helped Pima to the WSFL title game. Went on to play at Oregon State with Pima teammates Timmy Hernandez and his brother Wesley.
Timmy Hernandez became the first player in league history to earn All-ACCAC first team on offense and defense as a receiver and cornerback at Pima in 2015. Had 53 receptions for 849 yards, to lead the conference, and six touchdowns on offense. Amassed 45 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown on defense. Went on to play at Oregon State with Pima teammates Landry and Wesley Payne.
Murphy Gershman, a former Tucson High standout, was a second-team NJCAA All-American in 2014-15 after averaging 24.8 points and 12 rebounds per game. Scored 45 points in a game against Eastern Arizona. He was a first-team All-Region I and first-team All-ACCAC pick. Went on to play at the Colorado School of Mines.
Arturo Vega, who excelled at Salpointe, was the 2014 ACCAC men’s soccer player of the year and a first-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American. Lled Pima to a region and district championship and a trip to the national tournament as a sophomore. Later played at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Donovan Moore, a Tucson High grad, had 46 receptions in 2014 earning him an All-WSFL first-team selection. Recorded 79 catches for 932 yards and six touchdowns over two seasons. Saw extended time at quarterback in his second season, completing 45 of 81 passes for 708 yards. Also rushed for 478 yards and five touchdowns in his second season. First enrolled at Arizona as a receiver in 2014 before transferring to Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Collin Dylla, a former Ironwood Ridge standout, was the national champion in the 2018 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field 1,000 meter run and currently runs for Arizona.
Sam Shoultz was a two-time NJCAA national champion in the high jump at Pima in 2016 and 2017. He was the ACCAC Athlete of the Year in 2017. Also a four-time NJCAA All-American. He went on to compete at Maryland.
Seth Jarus won the 2017 NJCAA Division I outdoor long jump championship with a leap of 24 feet, 4.25 inches. Went on to compete at Idaho State.
Julio Felix, a right-hander who starred at Sunnyside, was an All-ACCAC selection in 2012 who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers. In his last season with the Aztecs, he struck out 68 batters and walked 25 in 91 2/3 innings. He has played the last four season in the Mexican professional league.
Chase Brennan, a Salpointe grad, was a 2012 All-ACCAC first-team selection as a defender in soccer. Went to Arizona as a chemical engineer student.
Donny Toia, a CDO graduate, is one of the best soccer players to come out of Tucson at any level. In 2011, he scored 14 goals and had six assists while becoming a first-team NJCAA All-American. He went on to play for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer. He presently is on loan with the Real Monarchs in Utah.
Minh Vu was the 2010 Region I Player of the Year and first-team NJCAA All-American selection who went on to lead Penn State to a Big Ten title before embarking on a professional career. As a sophomore at Pima, he topped NJCAA Region I in scoring with 44 points (15 goals and 14 assists), helping PCC to 17-6 record.
Jeremy Harden, Tucson High grad, was a two-year starter and led the Aztecs to their first region hoops championship as well as their first national championship appearance in school history in 2009-10. He went on to Arizona and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in sports management from Arizona. Now the head men’s basketball Coach at Wenatchee Valley (Wash.) Community College.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.