Steve Baik talks about transition from Chino Hills to LA Fairfax

Steve Baik, head coach for Chino Hills boys basketball, led the team to an unbeaten season, and a CIF state championship, has resigned as head coach. (Staff file photo/Southern California News Group)

Steve Baik admits when he stepped down as basketball coach at Chino Hills earlier this month he thought about not coaching. You can’t do much better than what his team did last year – undefeated, national championship.

And he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two sons.

Then Los Angeles Faifax coach Harvey Kitani, a close friend of his, called and told him he was going to step down there to take a position at Rolling Hills Prep and the door was open there. It was an opportunity Baik could not pass up.

“With the program and tradition they have there it is a great opportunity,” he said, talking about the new position for the first time. “I am going to keep the staff there that is already in place. Will be a great place to just worry about coaching basketball.”

Baik lives in Altadena not far off the 2 freeway and says the commute has been cut in half so the job does get him a little closer to home.

With Chino Hills and Fairfax both likely being in the Open Division again next year his new team could be facing his old team. He thinks they’ll likely meet in summer play along the way too and says he will be the Huskies No. 1 fan when the teams are not playing each other.

“I’m going to miss all those kids and I wish nothing but the best for them. I love them like sons,” Baik said. “I’m going to be their biggest fan.”

News of his appointment broke on Friday, a few hours before the Huskies were presented national championship mementos from both MaxPreps and USA Today. He didn’t want to talk about the new job then and take away from the attention he wanted on his now former players.

Baik had been with the Huskies for nine years, the last six of those as head coach.
With all the festivities honoring his team taking place Baik acknowledges there was never going to be a “good” time to resign or announce a new position which is also why he considered not coaching the next school year.

“Opportunities like this don’t come around often,” he said. “I felt like I had to jump at it but will always be grateful for my time at Chino Hills.”

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Chino Hills boys basketball team collects honors: Baik confirms new job

The undefeated and national champion Chino Hills boys basketball team was honored in festivities at the school’s football stadium Friday night.

Representatives from MaxPreps were on hand to present the Huskies their national championship trophy with coach Steve Baik, who resigned two weeks ago, accepting on behalf of the team.

USA Today, another of the outlets that crowned the Huskies national champion, presented a banner.

The Huskies went 35-0, winning CIF Open Division honors and going on to win a state title as well.

They scored 100 points or more 18 times and won every playoff game by 20 points or more. That kind of dominant effort has most basketball experts putting the Huskies among the best high schools teams ever assembled.

Lonzo Ball, the lone senior on the squad, was presented an award for being named National Player of the Year.

Younger brother LaMelo and Onyeka Okongwu were joint recipients of the Freshman of the Year honor. Okongwu was not on hand but LaMelo collected his award.

Baik confirmed that he had just accepted the head coaching position at Los Angeles Fairfax High School but didn’t want to comment on that and take attention away from his team.

 

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Chino Hills coach Steve Baik issues statement on resignation

 

Photo published for Chino Hills basketball coach Steve Baik resigns after storybook season

Chino Hills boys basketball coach Steve Baik has resigned after a 35-0 record and national championship.

Here is his statement on that decision:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation as the Head Coach of the Chino Hills Boys Basketball team. This is the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make in my coaching career. Although the timing may be questioned, my reasons are completely related to my personal life.

This decision will allow me to prioritize my family and to be more present as a husband and father, specifically in the lives of my two young boys. Therefore, I am pursuing options that will allow me to work closer to home.

I have had the privilege of coaching some of the most incredible student-athletes at CHHS, and it goes without saying that this past season was the most special to me.

It has been such a blessing to work with amazing people such as my coaching staff, the faculty, and for Principal Brenes at Chino Hills High School. The support from the community and families has been incredible. I am particularly grateful to the Ball family for their trust in me over the past four years. They have also continued to support me in making this decision and I am thankful that our friendships will continue.

I will greatly miss the opportunity to coach these players through the rest of their high school careers, particularly Gelo and Eli as upcoming seniors, and Melo and Onyeka who will lead the charge thereafter. This is truly difficult for me as I have grown to deeply respect and love these boys as family.

I am confident this group will continue to have great success. I am so proud of all that was accomplished and I will be forever grateful for my time at Chino Hills High.

And here is link to news story.

 

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So Cal Prep Legends Team of Year nominees announced

The Southern California Newspaper Group has announced its finalist for Team of the Year.

Here is the link to a rundown on each of the finalists.

Each of the publications in the SCNG nominated a team or individual for each category. The Daily Bulletin’s submission in this category was a no-brainer. It’s the undefeated and No. 1 Chino Chino Hills boys basketball team.

Among the other categories are Male and Female Athlete of Year as Well as Scholar Athlete of Year, Coach of Year, Game of Year, Performance of Year and Inspirational Story of Year.

Stay tuned for news on the others.

 

 

 

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Chino Hills basketball players share national honor

Chino HIlls High School's LaMelo Ball, right, drives to the basket as Mater Dei High School's MJ Cage defends during the CIF Open Division semifinals on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 in Chino, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Many have had a hard time trying to decide which of the Chino Hills freshman basketball standouts have had the bigger impact – center Onyeka Okongwu or guard  LaMelo Ball.

Well MaxPreps couldn’t decide either and has named the two Co-Freshman Players of the Year. It is quite an honor given that five players were chosen to the first team nationwide and two come from the same team.

Here is the link to the MaxPreps rundown on those chosen.

 

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Honors continue to roll in for Chino Hills basketball players

 

Chino Hills' Lonzo Ball has been chosen as the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's boys basketball Player of the Year.   (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball has been chosen as the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s boys basketball Player of the Year. (Will Lester/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The storybook season for the Chino Hills boys basketball team, continues to lands its players individual accolades.

Senior guard Lonzo Ball, who has already garnered four national player of the year and a state player of the year awards, has been named Mr. California Basketball by CalHi Sports. He averaged a tripled double – 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 11.5 assists, adding in 5.1 steals and 2 blocks a game.

He is the first state player of the year from the Inland Empire since current San Antonio Spurs standout Kawhi Leonard (Riverside Martin Luther King) in 2009. If you consider the San Gabriel Valley as part of the greater Inland Empire region along the 60-71 corridor, Ball joins Corey Benjamin (Fontana ’96) Casey Jacobsen (Glendora ’99) and Scott Williams (Hacienda Heights Wilson ’86) as winners of the state’s most prestigious honor from the vast region in the last 30 years.

In addition, CalHisSports named 6-foot-9 center Onyeka Okongwu the state freshman of the year. He averaged 7.9 points and 8.2 rebounds but upped that to 11 points, 9 rebounds and 7.4 blocks in the playoffs. His defensive presence was also evident in the number of shots he affected in the paint.

Here is the link to CalHi Sports players of year and link to overall player of year for those who want more information to see complete list of players honored.

Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo got recognition elsewhere. He was named second team “Junior Class” All-American by MaxPreps which picks All-American teams for each of four classes. He averaged a team-high 27.4 points with a best of 41 against High Point Christian (N.C.)

Here is link to that list of honorees.

 

 

 

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Baseline League honors: Boys basketball

Chino Hills High School’s Lonzo Ball, left, drives up the court as Bishop Montgomery High School’s Ethan Thompson defends during a CIF Open Division State Regional Final at Walter Pyramid on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Long Beach, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

MVP: Lonzo Ball, Sr., G, Chino Hills

First team
LaMelo Ball, Fr., Chino Hills
LiAngelo Ball, Jr., Chino Hills
Garrett Carter, Sr., Etiwanda
Tian Daniels, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
Dion Hamilton, Sr., Los Osos
Miles Oliver, Jr., Etiwanda
Bryce Peters, Sr., Damien
Elizjah Scott, Jr., Chino Hills
Isaiah White, Sr, Damien
Nate Williams, Sr., Upland

Second team
Kessler Edwards, Soph., Etiwanda
Justin Hemsley, Jr., Damien
Shane Johnson, Jr., Los Osos
Darren Jones, Fr., Upland
Kyle Lounsbury, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga
Elijah McCullough, Soph., Damien
Onyeka Okongwu, Fr., Chino Hills
Liam Ryan, Sr., Damien
Cameron Shelton, Soph., Chino Hills
Krystian Wilson, Soph., Etiwanda
Kelvin Wright, Soph., Rancho Cucamonga

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Will Chino Hills boys basketball retain No. 1 national ranking?

Well the Chino Hills boys basketball team has done all it can do to secure the mythical national championship.

The Huskies (35-0) put the finishing touch on an undefeated season, beating Concord De La Salle 70-50 to win the Open Division crown on Saturday in Sacramento. Chino Hills was No. 1 in multiple national polls so it wouldn’t be likely they’d fall out of the top spot.

 

Or could they? Here’s the monkey wrench in the dilemma.

There is an event called the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Tournament which starts Thursday in New York and features a field of eight teams, all elite teams that have been part of the national picture all season.

Chino Hills is not playing in that event, through no fault of its own. It is an unsanctioned event and the CIF has never allowed a team from California to compete in it, not even the Mater Dei teams that have been highly ranked.

So will not playing in that event hurt the Huskies? I don’t think it should. The played a difficult schedule and have 11 wins over teams that have been ranked. Mater Dei was a top 10 team and the Huskies beat them by 48 points. So they’re beating good teams handily.

Montverde Academy (Fla) has won the event the last three years and is ranked No. 2 behind Chino Hills in the USA Today poll and is No. 3 in MaxPreps behind the Huskies and Oak Hill (Va.).

Chino Hills beat Montverde in a tournament in Florida so that win should speak volumes. Granted it was a 1-point win back in December but it’s still a head-to-head victory.

Among the other teams in the Dick’s event are Oak Hill, Findlay Prep (Nev.) and St. Benedict’s, all top 10 teams by both MaxPreps and USA Today.

We’ll see how it plays out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball gets third national player of year award

Chino Hills High School’s Lonzo Ball, left, drives up the court as Bishop Montgomery High School’s Ethan Thompson defends during a CIF Open Division State Regional Final at Walter Pyramid on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Long Beach, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The awards continue to roll in for senior guard Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills.

Ball, who propelled the Huskies to a 35-0 record and No. 1 national ranking, added a third national player of the year award to his resume, being named by USA Today.

Earlier this month the UCLA-signee was named recipient of the Naismith and Wooten awards. He has also been named Gatorade state player of the year.

Ball averaged 23 points, 9.4 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 4.7 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. He had 16 triple-doubles on the season, nearly averaging a triple-double.

In addition, Huskies coach Steve Baik has been named USA Today Coach of the Year, his second national coach of the year accolade.

 

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Chino Hills basketball team forces CIF to alter schedule

The Chino Hills boys basketball team has generated so much buzz the CIF has had to adjust on the fly as the postseason progresses.

After the Huskies (33-0) surged past El Cajon Foothills Christian 82-62 in the Open Division semifinal Tuesday night at Colony, the CIF released a new schedule and plans for the title game on Saturday against Bishop Montgomery at Long Beach State’s Pyramid.

Normally spectators could buy a ticket and it would be good for admission to all games that day. But because of the expected crowd, the venue will be cleared after the 5 p.m. game and another admission charged for  the marquee game featuring the nation’s No. 1 ranked team.

Other games were each bumped an hour to allow organizers time to do that.

Chino Hills High School’s Elijah Scott, top, dunks over Foothills Christian High School’s Luis Salgado, left, and Jordan Starr during a Southern California Regional semifinal basketball game on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at Colony High School in Ontario, Ca. Chino Hills won the game 82-62. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

When announced most saw that as cha-ching, cha-ching let the cash register ring as the CIF stands to profit big time from another admission. Tickets are $16 for adults, $ for students and senior citizens and probably 5,000 can be crammed into the The Pyramid. Do the math.

But CIF spokesman Thom Simmons said it was more a matter of being able to accommodate fans from the schools in that last game, with a strong likelihood that people from the earlier games wouldn’t leave, meaning there would be little room left for those wanting to just see the final game and the ones that did get in would likely have to settle for lesser seats. That was the case last week at the Honda Center when Chino Hills also highlighted the bill.

Complicating matters, there are two schools from Long Beach playing earlier in the day so those games should also draw well.

Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball (#2), drives to the basket against Immanuel High School during the frist half of Friday’s CIF-SS Open Division State Playoff game at Chin Hills High Schoolin Chino Hills , Ca, Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by John Valenzuela/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

“There have been times we didn’t draw 4,000 the entire day,” Simmons said. “That was one of the reasons we went from a bigger venue to the smaller one in the first place. “We’re dealing with something we have never had to deal with before and it’s a good problem to have.”

Simmons said the bigger venues the event has been held in have included Galen Center, The Forum, Long Beach Arena and Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

The contract with the Pyramid is up after this year and Simmons said the CIF would likely discuss all options. Chino Hills graduates only one player. Granted it’s Lonzo Ball. But they Huskies should still be very good so the level of interest in the team should remain high.

“I don’t think they’re going to drop of that much,” Simmons said. “They’re still going to be very good.”

Simmons says in his two decades he has never seen a team generate this much buzz so the CIF has had to take unprecedented measures.

Tickets are on sale at both schools and a limited number are available on line at www.LongBeachState.com/CIF. Once those tickets are sold out a limited number of “standing-room only” tickets will be available, also on line.

 

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