No generation gap for Longeros
When it comes to playing basketball for Carson High, there’s no generation gap in the Longero family.
Cody Longero, who will be one of Carson’s starting players tonight when Carson hosts Hug High at 7 p.m., is a third-generation Senator basketball player. Including Cody, seven Longero boys have donned Senator basketball jerseys since the late 1940s, including Cody’s grandfather Delbert (Class of ’49) and father Mike (Class of ’75), who is a Senator assistant coach.
“As far as generations go, I don’t think there’s any modern-day family that’s been more involved in Carson basketball,” said Carson coach Tom Andreasen, who now has coached two generations of the Longero family but is quick to point out that he did not play against the senior Longeros during his Virginia City career. (Andreasen said the only Carson City family that might rival the Longeros in terms of number of players is the Moose family.)
With his current 15 point-per-game scoring average, Cody isn’t doing anything to tarnish the Longero name in association with Carson basketball. A left-hander with a quick move to the basket just like his grandpa and dad, Cody has Carson fans anticipating another trip to the state finals – which Carson last won when Mike was a senior in 1975.
“He’s right there at the top,” said grandmother Barbara Longero when asked to compare Cody to the rest of the Longero ballplayers. “He works so hard and he’s got the same intensity that they’ve all had.”
Don’t discount Grandma’s opinion on Cody’s ability as being biased, either; she’s seen a lot of good Longero players in more than 50 years of watching Senator basketball, including:
n Delbert Longero – Cody’s grandfather transferred from Dayton High to Carson High for his senior year. During that senior year, he was on the Senator team which defeated Reno, 40-34, for the Western Zone title and advanced to the state final before losing to Las Vegas High, 51-43.
Like Cody, Delbert was known for his offense. Following the 1949 Zone title game against Reno in which he scored 11 points, the Nevada Appeal reporter wrote: ” (Delbert) played a terrific offensive game. He opened the scoring with a jumping one-hander and cut the Reno lead to 5-7 at the quarter”
Unfortunately, Delbert passed away in 1994. Barbara said one of his last regrets he spoke of was the fact he wouldn’t get to see Cody play high school basketball.
n Jerry Longero (Class of ’52) – Of the Longeros, “Jake” was perhaps the best all-around athlete. Cody’s great-uncle played basketball, but also gained recognition in football and track. Against Manogue in a football game in 1951, he rushed for 274 yards; in track, he set the Yerington Relays record of 15.3 seconds in the high hurdles.
Jerry went on to run track at Nevada and he then moved to Yerington, where he was a teacher, coach and athletic director at Yerington High for 30 years. He coached the Lions track team to state titles in 1961 and 1964. He still lives in Yerington and is eager to see Cody play basketball this season.
“I watched him play in the eighth grade, but haven’t seen him play in high school,” Jerry said. “I’ve got to get over and see him.”
n Ken Longero (Class of ’54) – Although most agree Delbert was the best basketball player of his generation of Longeros, Cody’s great-uncle Ken had the best collegiate career. After playing three years of varsity ball for the Senators, Ken played at Nevada for two seasons. He then went into the service and served in Korea. Then he returned to Nevada and played for two more seasons.
He currently lives in Las Vegas.
n Don “Ducky” Longero (Class of ’58) – The great-uncle with the best nickname, “Duck” played on some memorable Carson teams in both football and basketball. He was on the Senator team which won the AA zone title in 1958 as well as the State A championship teams of 1956 and 1957. Don was named to the All-State basketball team in 1957, and the All-State football teams of 1957 and 1958.
He currently resides in Visalia, Calif.
n Ron Longero (Class of ’73) – Cody’s Uncle Ron was an All-Conference basketball player in 1973 and was a major influence on younger brother Mike, getting him involved in the sport of basketball.
“Ron was serious in junior high, but between his junior and senior years he went to a basketball camp run by Virginia City coach Tom Andreasen and that’s when basketball became really important,” Mike said. “Tom really generated a lot of basketball enthusiasm in our family.”
Mike also recalled that he and Ron – no matter how good of high school and college players they became – could never beat their dad, Delbert, in the shooting game of “Around the World.” It seems Delbert knew the “dead” spots on the family’s backboard and could always bank in his shots, much to the chagrin of Mike and Ron.
“Ron and I shot hours of ‘Around the World’ with my dad,” Mike said. “No matter his age, he always had his shot.”
Ron is currently a priest in San Antonio, Texas.
n Mike Longero (Class of ’75) – Mike is undoubtably the best known of the Longero basketball players, his legacy being the Senators’ 1975 state title. That title was the first for Carson since 1938 and to this day marks the last time a Northern Nevada high school won the large-school title.
Mike went on a tear in the 1975 playoffs, scoring 53 points and pulling down 56 rebounds in three games. In Carson’s 68-67 win over Clark in the championship game, he recorded 21 points and 20 rebounds. For the 1974-75 season, he averaged 20.8 points and 19.3 rebounds per game.
Mike went on to have a successful collegiate career at Nevada, playing against future NBA stars such as Bill Cartwright and Danny Ainge. Since college, he’s coached and taught at both Dayton High and Carson High.
“The sport seems to fit with our personalities,” said Mike when asked why the Longeros seem drawn toward basketball. “Underlying everything is the competition – it’s a sport where the more you put into it, the more you can get out of it.”
n Cody Longero (Class of ’01) – Although sophomore sister Sarah is a statistician for the Senator basketball team and second-cousin Brian Welch is a budding seventh-grade star at Carson Middle, the Longero basketball spotlight for this generation rests solely on Cody these days.
At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Cody is exactly the same size as Mike was when he played for Carson. Not surprisingly, Cody has the same sort of abilities his father had while playing – he can either drive and pull up for a jump shot or continue all the way to the basket for a layup.
Several people, including Chuck Hildebrand of NevPrep.com, have noted that Cody – both in terms of his basketball play and physical appearance – bears a striking resemblance to former Stanford star Todd Lichti. Already one of the best players in the Northern 4A, Cody will probably be a Division I shooting guard prospect by the time his senior season rolls around.
Cody said the Longero association with basketball was in danger for a while. Until the fourth grade, Cody’s favorite sport was football.
“All I wanted to do was play football; I didn’t think much of basketball,” Cody said.
But since family friend Sam Contreras began coaching a city league team and asked him if he wanted to play, Cody’s been like every other Longero boy – hooked on basketball.
“Since going to that first practice, basketball’s been my favorite sport,” said Cody, who would like to become a third-generation Nevada player following his graduation from high school. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be good at basketball and started practicing hard.”
While Cody has no younger brothers, he does say there’s a possibility of another Longero – a fourth generation Senator player – suiting up for Carson in the late 2020s.
“I might teach,” said Cody when asked about what occupation he was interested in. “I might even come back to Carson some day.”
(The Nevada Appeal thanks Joy Longero Amodei (Carson High Class of ’50) for her contributions to this article.)