By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Kacy Barlow didn’t do himself or the Diamond Bar High School boys basketball team any favors, but he is back playing with the Brahmas after transferring to Diamond Ranch, then transferring back after learning his hardship request to CIF-Southern Section officials was denied. The 6-foot-3 forward has averaged 22 points in the five games since his return on June 13 against Chino, a game the Brahmas won 48-42 for only their third victory of the season.
Above: UCLA coach Ben Howland was at La Verne Lutheran practice recently, coach Cooper saying he’s looking at sophomore Grant Jerrett and freshman guard Eric Cooper, Jr.
“Ultimately, CIF said the only place he could play is with us,” first-year Brahmas boys basketball coach Ty Watkins said. “I took this job in the spring and by the summer he already had transferred out.
“When it was clear he was coming back and wanted to play basketball I talked to our team about it, and they were happy he could come back and help us out.”
Watkins can only wonder what it would have been like to have Barlow for the entire season. The Brahmas are 3-17 and 1-3 in the Sierra League.
The Brahmas have lost four in a row since the Chino victory, but one was a 68-64 nonleague loss to Rancho Cucamonga in the Martin Luther King Classic at Los Osos. Another was a 66-64 loss to Ayala in a game they let slip away in the final minutes.
“We’re in a lot more games now,” Watkins said. “Our record is not close to how we’re playing. Although (Barlow) isn’t used to our system yet and the multiple defenses we’ve been running, he’s worked hard to get back into it.”
Watkins expected a Hoosiers-like return for Barlow, but he felt if he had him back a month earlier the Brahmas could have been a more serious league contender.
“You have to have those type of players to have a shot at it, Chino Hills has Derek Brown, Damien has (Chris) Adams, (Chris) Reyes and Glendora has (Calvin) Smith,” Watkins said. “What makes (Barlow) so effective is he’s a slasher who has good range, but having that guy who can penetrate to the basket with athleticism makes a difference. Is it too late in the season? Probably, but we’re going to continue to give it a shot.”
Also helping is the return of junior Jonathan Munoz from an ankle injury.
“In the Nogales tournament (Munoz) had 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in one game,” Watkins said. “We just feel like we can compete with anyone now, and we’re in every game. We still have the second half of league, so we’ll play as hard as we can and see where we end up.”
Howland in the Valley
La Verne Lutheran boys basketball coach Eric Cooper said UCLA coach Ben Howland recently was at practice in hopes of luring 6-foot-8 sophomore Grant Jerrett, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman guard Eric Cooper Jr., the son of coach Cooper.
“UCLA wants both of them (Jerrett and Cooper),” Cooper said. “Jerrett has at least 10 offers on the table and C.J. has seven. It’s been like this for a while. They’re attracting a lot of attention.”
The Trojans (12-7) compete in Division 5-AA and are the division’s top-ranked team, but they continue to make noise throughout the Southland with a powerful nonleague schedule that includes wins over Dorsey and Eisenhower in the December Pasadena tournament, as well as victories over Nevada’s Bishop Gorman and Compton.
They face virtually no competition in the Arrowhead League, but the Trojans have another big nonleague game against Price on Jan. 5 at the Los Angeles Center for Enrichment Studies (LACES) High School in Los Angeles.
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