Above: Pasadena coach Tim Tucker huddles with Star-News All-Stars at practice.
9th ANNUAL STAR-NEWS/TRIBUNE ALL-STAR GAME
Saturday, April 28 at Damien High
Girls game, 4 p.m.; Boys game, 6 p.m.
Boys: Tribune 98, Star-News 87, Star-News leads series, 5-3.
Girls: Tribune 80, Star-News 69, Star-News leads series, 5-3.
COACH: Tim Tucker, Pasadena
Blake Hamilton, Pasadena, Sr.
John Haywood, Pasadena, Sr.
Dion Nelson, Muir, Sr.
Jessy Cantinol, Renaissance Academy, Sr.
Vince De Guzman, Renaissance Academy, Sr.
Ali Jabalameli, South Pasadena, Sr.
Javon Shields, South Pasadena, Sr.
Darrell Dansby, La Canada, Sr.
Taylor Lagace, Arcadia, Sr.
Robby Haines, Arcadia, Sr.
Jeffrey Radzwill, Arcadia, Sr.
PJ Dunn, Maranatha, Sr.
Garren Llorens, Maranatha, Sr.
Jeff Briegel, La Salle, Sr.
Jordan Hill, La Salle, Sr.
COACHES: Hon Trieu, Keppel and Kim Weber, Pasadena Poly
Shaela Flynn, Muir, Sr.
Tahniya Sweatt, Muir, Sr.
Brandi Dubose, Muir, Sr.
Michelle Miller, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
Gina Henderson, Monrovia, Sr.
Domynyque Johnson, Monrovia, Sr.
Kaela Barnes, Monrovia, Sr.
Kelsey Nakamura, South Pasadena, Sr.
Sydney Zarate, La Canada, Sr.
Kristin Leung, San Marino, Sr.
Megan Rutherford, Pasadena, Senior
Sandra Gao, Keppel, Sr.
Lana Haddad, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Sr.
Carrie Morris, Mayfield, Sr.
Devanie Davis, Rio Hondo Prep, Sr.
It didn’t take long for Muir High School’s Dion Nelson to work up a sweat during Thursday’s practice with the Star-News All-Star team.
It was his first organized practice representing his school since the first week of February. Nelson has not played an organized game since Feb. 10 when the Mustangs lost to Pasadena in their regular-season season finale, 71-53. That’s when Muir found out that it would have to forfeit 20 games and miss the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs.
Nelson will get a chance to play one more game wearing his high school jersey when he takes part in the ninth annual Star-News/Tribune All-Star Basketball Game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Damien High in La Verne.
Nelson, a point guard who earned second-team All-Area honors, does his best to not think about what could have been. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about Muir’s promising season in which it went 24-2 at season’s end, won the school’s first Pacific League title in over a decade and had a top-50 ranking in the state with a strong chance to go deep in the Division 4AA playoffs, long considered the “Super Division” in which the Mustangs were the only public school team ranked in the top 10.
By the time Muir was preparing to play rival Pasadena in the season finale, the hammer had all but fallen on the Mustangs’ program. It would eventually lead to the dismisal of Robert Galvan as athletic director, coach Gamal Smalley’s resignation and principal Sheryl Orange’s demotion as principal at school year’s end.
Disappointment and anger are the emotions Nelson tries to avoid, but it’s tough.
“When I start to really think about it it hurts a little bit,” he said. “When I reminisce how good we were actually doing, it actually stings a little bit.”
That was then and this is now, the present that has Nelson back on the court with familiar faces and a future that burns bright. Nelson on Monday committed to Whittier College, an NCAA Division III school.
“I got over it,” he said. “It was just fun to come back and play again.”
Pasadena’s Blake Hamilton and John Haywood squared off in a scrimmage Thursday. The two were relentless trying to outdo one another, and it seemed like Haywood got the better end of it, dunking over Hamilton on one play.
“He didn’t dunk on me, I just got out of the way,” was Hamilton’s response.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, will make a decision today on whether he’ll attend Hawaii, Cal State Northridge or Northern Arizona. Haywood, a 5-foot-11 guard, will attend Citrus College.