I had to chance to speak with former Chino Hills boys basketball coach Steve Baik as his new school, Los Angeles Fairfax, took on Santa Margarita in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei. His game wrapped up five or so hours before Chino Hills took the court and he wasn’t sure of he was going to stick around that long.
Baik was the Huskies head coach last year when they went 35-0 and were first in everyone’s national poll but resigned after the season, later taking the job at Fairfax. which is closer to his home in Altadena.
He says he is still in regular touch with new coach Stephan Gilling, an assistant on his staff whom he recommended for the position. And he has exchanged texts with the players.
He has seen the Huskies on a few occasions, including when they played a non-league game at Crespi.
“I still have special feelings for those guys. It’s hard not to miss them,” he said. “I have great respect for the Ball family and the work ethic of those kids, as well as Eli (Scott) and O (Onyeka Okongwu) and it was nice to be part of something special last year.”
Baik’s Fairfax team is 21-3 and a sure bet to be included in the Open Division for the City Section playoffs. The record is even more noteworthy because leading scorer Ethan Anderson had been out with a knee injury. He is expected back for the playoffs.
He says the top teams in the City section are comparable to those in the Southern Section but acknowledges the Southern Section had more depth.
“You have teams like Westchester and Birmingham that are as good as anyone,” he said. “In the Southern Section you have more teams of that level though.”