Nogales high school is losing one of the best young high school boys basketball coaches in the San Gabriel Valley. Nobles coach Ricky Roper is leaving to Southern Section powerhouse Cerritos Gahr, who won the San Gabriel Valley League title last season while competing against the likes of Lynwood and Paramount. (to continue click thread).
Although Gahr lost in the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs, it advanced three rounds in the state tournament before losing to Compton Centennial, 83-77, and finished 27-6. Roper, who arrived at Nogales in 2004, led the Nobles to three San Antonio League titles, advanced to the CIF quarterfinals in 2008, and the semifinals in 2009, when he was named the Tribune boys basketball coach of the year. Roper was an instant favorite among the players when he coached the Tribune in the Tribune/Star-News all-star game, even inserting himself in the dunk contest and wooing fans with a player-aided dunk that brought the house down. We caught up with Roper on Thursday, who said it was a very difficult decision to leave, especially after having practiced with Nogales all summer … “I really want to thank (athletic director) Bruce Alley for hiring me, the staff and students at the school, and all the players that played for me and their parents, I’m going to miss everyone,” Roper said. “There is so much about Nogales that I’m going to miss, especially the players.”
Roper is replacing Gahr coach Bob Becker, who recently resigned, and is inheriting a very strong group. “I’m a very lucky guy,” Roper said. “The Nogales team we had during the summer has been very good. There is a lot of upside and whoever gets this job has a great bunch of kids to work with. The kids at Gahr have been great too, just as the Nogales kids always did everything you would ever ask, I’m getting that kind of reaction at Gahr too.”
Roper also added, “I just think it’s a new challenge, new area and a different region in the Southern Section. That part excites me, but it is and was tough saying goodbye to Nogales, that’s for sure.”