PORTLANDIAN: Sierra College star, Placer grad Isaiah Pineiro signs with Portland State

By: Jeremy McDonald of the Auburn Journal
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Placer High graduate Isaiah Pineiro had better acquire a taste for free range chickens and pretentious coffee shops, because he’s headed to Portland.

The Sierra College basketball star has decided to take his talents to NCAA Division I Portland State University. The Wolverines freshman inked his commitment to join the Vikings men’s basketball program on Wednesday at Sierra College.

Pineiro said the PSU squad with only two seniors on the 2014-15 roster was the best fit among interested schools.

 “I feel like the coaches there, they’re all on the same page and I feel like they’re going in the right direction,” Pineiro said. “They have a great coaching staff. The players like the coaches. It’s a great school, education-wise.”

Pineiro will join a program that went 15-14 last year and 9-9 in the Big Sky Conference. The squad was eliminated by Sacramento State in the BSC tournament. The top seven scorers on the team are scheduled to return.

“The players there, I feel like I mesh well with them,” Pineiro said. “They’re good, they’re talented. I feel like they got overlooked, so hopefully over the next three years we’ll make a name.”

Pineiro is the son of Auburn’s Luis and Cynthia Pineiro. He played basketball for Placer coach and athletic director Mark Lee. In his lone season with Sierra College, Pineiro averaged 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds a contest for Wolverines coach John Fusano.

“It shows what hard work can do,” Fusano said. “He has talent, but it’s talent in addition to hard work, sacrifice, coachability — all of those things are what made him drastically improve.”

Pineiro credits the Sierra staff for his recent progression.

 “They taught me how to be more coachable, how to be mentally tough throughout a game or a season,” he said. “Through the ups and downs, you have to be tough. Mentally and physically, you can’t break down.

“We’ve had plenty of games this year where we were down, but everyone was staying positive and mentally tough and we fought and we won.”

Portland State runs a motion offense and will be rotating Pineiro between small forward and power forward positions.

“I’ll be inside a little, outside a little, just switching it up,” Pineiro said.

The Portland lifestyle, popularized by the show “Portlandia” on the Independent Film Channel, will represent a unique transition as well.

He plans to stay out of the bus lanes.

“I don’t plan on driving while I’m up there, but it was definitely an experience when I first went up there on my visit,” Pineiro said. “They have the bike lanes closest to the curb, the parking is in the street almost and it looks like there’s traffic, but it’s the parking lane, so that throws you off. It’s going to take some getting used to, but it’ll be fine. It’s going to rain a lot, but it’s not going to affect me. Basketball is inside.”

Along with his luggage, Pineiro will bring along the memories of one great year at Sierra.

“Coach Fusano and the coaching staff really drive that (family atmosphere) into the players,” Pineiro said. “I made some friends that I’ll keep for the rest of my life, no matter where we go.”