There isn’t much more the Chino Hills boys basketball team could have done last year. The Huskies were 35-0, won league, state, regional and national championships. Perhaps win by a bigger margin. But the Huskies are going to try.
Stephen Gilling was named head coach today, replacing Steve Baik who served as head coach the last six years.
It was a good choice. Gilling is from the area, having graduated from nearby Ayala in 2005 where he excelled under then coach Tom Gregory.
He has also been on staff for the last two years so he knows the personnel and the style of play that has been the Huskies trademark. The school would have been stupid to look outside for a successor,
Gilling won’t be looking to put his own stamp on the program, He’ll go with what has worked. Chino Hills will run the same entertaining, up-tempo offense that made them a phenomenon across the country.
“If it’s working you don’t go out and change anything,” he said. “You can always be stronger, bigger, better. We’re going to go out and try and do it even better than we did last year.”
Indeed there will be pressure to repeat. The Huskies only graduated one player, although that player is Lonzo Ball, the straw that stirred the drink, so to speak.
The other two Ball brothers – senior LiAngelo and sophomore LaMelo will be back, as will be senior Eli Scott and sophomore Onyeka Okongwu who rounded out the starting lineup. All have multiple Division I offers with both the other Balls having committed to UCLA.
Nothing short of another title is expected.
The Huskies scored 100 points or more 18 times, tying a state record. That was a particularly impressive number given the caliber of competition the Huskies faced.
They won every playoff game by 20 points or more with no outcome more convincing than a 48-point win over national power Mater Dei which had been ranked as high as sixth nationally.
“We have the same expectations,” Gilling said. “That’s what we’re out there working hard toward. The guys are getting better.”
Gilling played guard for two years at Colorado State, then moved on to Long Beach State where he spent three years, the first as a red-shirt,
He is on the Chino Hills campus as an aide and was the person Baik endorsed as his successor.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off last year,” he said.