Boys Hoops: Damien’s good, they’re just not the best team in the city .. see La Verne Lutheran

Career Day at Damien High School was an enjoyable experience for me on Tuesday, especially with nearly the entire boys basketball team signed-up for a class and sitting in while I rambled on about a career in journalism. They wanted to know who the area’s top-ranked boys team is going to be, so I had to look ’em in the eye and say, “not you,” that belongs to the CIF champs around the corner, La Verne Lutheran — you know the guys up the street from Bonita. The Spartans players gave me a hard time and said they would love to play the Trojans, though we know it won’t happen, at least not this year. In any case, it’s almost that time, care to weigh in on the top boys basketball teams, and how the new league’s will affect the landscape.

Below: Okay, at least we can establish that Damien has the best boys basketball fans in the Valley. Nothing rivals “The Pit.”

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  • FredJ

    Best in Valley history? No way, I can think of a few Glendora teams that would have handled them. Tracy Murray would have got his 50 points.

  • AJ

    Its La Verne Lutheran as #1 everyone knows that, CJ, Bruce, Grant, Xavier and Eric Jr are all D1 scholarship guys, their might not be a team in the valley history with that many division 1 scholarship players on 1 team,

    Damien is #2, Chris Reyes and company are easily the 2nd best team in the valley.

  • sgvpride

    As far as top rankings, I’m not to sure about area rankings. Damien looks strong to contend for a sierra league title with glendora and chino hills ready to battle it out. The new Hacienda league will be interesting, I have Bonita winning that league and being a top 5 team the whole year. Rowland will come in second, diamond ranch in third, and I have the surprise team of the league west covina coming in fourth. After a terrible season last year they return every player from that team with a new coach. Valle vista I have to give it to Northview, but Covina is improving and Balwdin Park with coach hart are a contender any year. San Dimas is weaker than usual but they still have barbados. How’s Workman going to be post Bobby Miles era? Can they win another league title? And what team outside of LVL has a legit shot at winning a CIF title? So many questions, can’t wait for season to start.

  • Jjdee

    The Hacienda league should be interesting with Bonita competing basically with the old San Antonio league. I got a dark horse team in that league with West Covina, I’ve watched them this past summer and those boys got talent. They would of had a great season last year if it wasn’t for their poor coaching staff they had.

  • socalhoops fan

    Glendora is in the baseline league. LVL is just a club team using LVL as its home school. Almost like Findley Prep and a host of other teams using private schools as their home. To be the best team ever in the SGV they would have to play in one of the upper divisions like D1aa or D1a.

  • Area Hoops Fan

    The best teams in the area this year are:

    La Verne Lutheran: Scholorship players all down the rosters

    Damien: One of the best players in the Valley Chris Reyes

    Bonita: Always gritty and play great defense have a great guard back

    Glendora: Always well coached and get transfer Nick Colleta from LVL in the tough baseline league

    Rowland: Shariff Watson tall lanky forward with much upside and a bunch of guards that got better over the summer.

    San Dimas: Has league MVP Chris Barbato but not much support behind him

    Northview: Has Johnson who is still under the radar of a lot of people he average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game and they return 3 starters and Coach Rice will always have them in games.

    The best of the rest:

    Bishop Amat
    Baldwin Park

  • Bohi

    Bonita has their best class in years returning. All CIF James Northup, football players GP and Zach Brungard. Great guard in Jordan Butler. They did lose Casey Horine for the year, but has his brother Garrett. They are a bit small and they lost CJ miller, but will be able to overcome that. Deep deep team with the best coach in the valley. Damien lost Chris Adams didn’t they. No way Damien beats Bonita. Not this team. Not gonna happen!

  • bball fan

    i see some people said covina. watch out for them, they have 10 returners including 1st team all league point guard and hes only a soph and the scariest thing about them is only 3 seniors on the team

  • Are you serious!-dicky V


    I dont know if you know this but damien is returning basically all of there starters from last year with the exception of chris adams and terrell bolden but expect clayton white to be an upgrade at pg this season.. no team in the valley can contain the beast who is chris reyes except for LVL… expect damien to go deep in the playoffs like the last two years

  • over his head

    but Covina has Bissman holding them back. Not a top ten coach

  • SGV Lifer

    Glad to see our LVL hater from Glendora has hijacked the socalhoops fan moniker! Welcome back Glendora fan and LVL hater!

    Yes, again, LVL has players that don’t live in the area, they are “a club team using LVL as its home school”, Cooper hijacked the school, Bruce is really 5’9″ yada yada yada.

    While I don’t think they are the best team ever in the valley and probably not even close even with all the D1 prospects, the fact is, they would beat Glendora by 30 points or more! Oh yeah, who made you the authority that rules on what division they would have to play in to be considered the best ever? Their league is weak, we all know that, yawn, but their division has some very good teams that would compete nicely against some of the better schools in the higher divisions and most of the quality teams in the division would also beat Glendora by double digits.

    Leaving socalhoops fan aka the anti-LVL Glendora resident for a moment, I would like to throw in my nominees for the best teams ever:

    How about the West Covina Spartans in the early 80s with Keith Smith (LMU and Milwaukee Bucks), Mark Hertenstein(played D1 somewhere), Derrick Tennell (UCLA Tight End and played for Dallas and some other teams in the NFL) and some other quality guys?

    Also, how could anyone forget about Cecil Fielder, Pete Williams and the others at Nogales in the 80s?

  • I was just thinking

    How about a mini-tourney or shootout at Damien’s beautiful palace of a gym with Damien, Bonita, La Verne Lutheran and maybe another local team or two?

    We could start a pre-season tradition and have a Smudge Pot type trophy that the teams play for every year.

    It could be a fund raiser for a good local cause and would be an amazing kick off to the basketball season!

    Who is in?

  • Look for them

    Look for Charter Oak to be a big solid team this year! They one much improved returning forward, and a pretty big cast thats fairly new this year! They will be big and should be a tough nosed, well coached team. They will be an underdog but will be one of the better teams in the valley! WATCH OUT

  • not even

    Look for them – “well coached”? now that was funny. I’ll wait for the implosion thank you very much.

  • That will be the day

    Damien vs Lutheran? I wish that it could be. I know this, Coach Cooper and Coach Lee would gladly take their Trojans into the Travers-Cronin Gym tomorrow (or any other day)if the Spartans wanted a game.

    Say what you will about LVL’s league schedule. It’s weak. LVL has tried to leave but none of their other sports teams would be close to competitive in any of the larger leagues. To remedy this, the basketball team will play in 3 national prestigious tournaments (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina;St Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada) They will also host a showcase at ULV in January featuring many of the top teams and players in the nation. The Trojans will play the last game of the day vs. defending Div 4 champ Price.

    The Trojans just played a tournament at HAX where they destroyed defending Div 2 state champion Gardena Serra by 25 and lost to nationally ranked Taft in the final by one point. The LVL coaches fully expect that they will be nationally ranked this year.

    The board in their team room has been autographed by all of the visiting college coaches who have come to scout the team. Needless to say, the board is full.

    Grant Jerrett is ranked #5 in the class of 2012 by ESPN. They also rank Eric Cooper Jr. in the top 100 for the class of 2013. There is a freshman who is ranked in the top 25 for the class of 2014.

    CJ Cooper, Bruce English and Xavier Jones will sign Div 1 letters of intent on early signing day. I fully expect Alec Terry to sign with someone before the season ends. If Kevin Payne can overcome nagging injuries, he should as well.

    So, yes, the Trojans are clearly the best team in the SGV and it isn’t even close.

  • sgvpride

    I wish I had my own “club” team as a high school varsity team.

  • Club Team

    SGV Pride,

    You wish you had your “own ‘club’ team as a high school varsity team”, really? I would think you would rather have a crappy local HS team like, say, Glendora for your son to play at? How admirable, Benedict Arnold!

    Can’t you come up with anything else to say about Lutheran? This blog and others have discussed the topic of their out of area players and the fact that Lutheran has an entire basketball team of kids that don’t live in La Verne ad nauseum. Don’t you know any other tunes? You are like a bad karaoke singer that can only sing one old song and sings it badly!

    Other high schools, both public and private, have numerous players that attend and compete in sports at schools that aren’t their home school. Get over it already. Charter Oak has kids from all over the place playing football there, as does Amat and so many others. Do you really think that the Mater Dei basketball team is comprised of kids that live within that school’s boundaries? Oh yeah, it is a private school and the CIF allows for transfers and/or attendance with limited guidelines etc… In fact, CIF would even allow a kid to transfer from a private school after winning a championship to a local public school, without restriction, imagine that!

  • sgvpride

    Mater Dei? That’s your comparison? Yeah and everyone loves Mater Dei and respects Mater Dei. Everyone in the SS dislikes Mater Dei for the way they do things. I believe that is the samething that is happening with LVL. Why hasn’t the SGV embraced them as our own? Because for the reasons stated above, doing things the “right” way. I know they have no choice in the league they play but it would make a huge difference if they played in a league with some sort of competitive teams. Because we all know anything can happen in league play, and they will never see that type of competition. So they can play in there showcase games, run through league, run through the first 3 rounds of CIF. Then finally playing there last 2 teams that would even be close to giving them a run for there money. Bottom line its been 3 or so years and even this newspaper has barely started to embrace LVL, that says enough.

  • Where’s the “Pride’?

    Every successful team has its “haters”.

    The Lakers and the Yankees are two of the most despised teams in the country beyond their (rather large) fan bases. Why?


    I suggest you change your handle to sgvjealous.

    If what is intimated below is true and you are the parent who moved your sophomore son from Lutheran to Glendora (bad idea by the way) you should just walk away quietly with the knowledge that the Lutheran coaches helped your son’s game tremendously and the pride of witnessing your son win CIF and State titles. (There’s that “pride” word again).

  • we coaches know

    The coaching community knows what’s going on, you people defending LVL. That’s fine, its your right, being homers. The coaches in the coaching community already know.

    Its been 4 years and they still haven’t gotten an invite for the APU showcase by Hamlow, with the exception of last season.

    I talked with several area coaches and you would be real surprised at what they really thought of what was going on in La Verne.

  • LVL

    It’s interesting. LVL is really irrelevant in SGV. I am not hating, but stating a fact. No body cares about them in SGV except for their very small community of students, parents and alumni. They are a great team, but play with mostly players outide of SGV that came to LVL just to play basketball. There is nothing wrong with that. Let them play but they don’t play other SGV players and we haven’t watched them grow up in our communities. They happen to reside in LV, but that is where the SGV connection ends. Their players are from outside the area and other SGV don’t play them. Go win another state title. The rest of the SGV will be busy watching our schools play each other in real rivalry games.

  • You “coaches” know nada

    You “Coaches”, if you knew anything, would know that after LVLs appearance at the Felix Center over the summer, the APU staff personally invited LVL to any and all functions that occur at APU. Unfortunately, LVL scheduled their big showcase on the same day the APU Showcase occurs or the Trojans would be there at the Felix Center in January. The APU staff also have established a relationship with the Trojan coaches and have been seen at LVL basketball practices.

    I’ll paraphrase the comments from the APU staff…

    We appreciate your style of play and the class shown by your players and coaches. We were pleased that although you dominated every game you played, you were not cocky and did not try to embarrass the other team. You are always welcome here. (Not a direct quote, just as close as I can remember)

    I wonder how many of those “area coaches” you supposedly talked to were among the group of area coaches I saw watching the Trojans run over their opponents at APU? These coaches stood there with their jaws agape and their eyes glassed over. It was funny to see.

  • sgvpride

    Question: Does LVL still have nationally ranked players and a top ten state team with players from LV or surrounding areas?

    For the record I never once hated on them, just stated what the SGV perception has been about them. The valley sure embraced Bobby Miles and CJG when they came to town. So my other question is how come the valley has not embraced these guys the same way?

  • Yes you did hate on them

    For the record, Lutheran’s Grant Jerrett and Damien’s Chris Reyes come from the same nearby city. I am not very familiar with the Spartan roster, but I would bet that the bulk of their players are not LaVerne residents either.

    As far as Lutheran goes, a few of the players come from Ontario, not too far away. Many of Lutheran’s student body come from Upland, Alta Loma, RC and…WAIT FOR IT…Ontario.

    I talk to SGV area coaches too. Lutheran made a splash only a few years ago. They aren’t a traditional power like some of the other schools. The few coaches who are honest about it say that playing LVL is a no win situation. Losing to a school with 160 students would be horrific regardless of the roster strength.

    I predict that once Grant Jerrett graduates, several local schools will “step up” and allow the Trojans to schedule them.

    Also, for the record, I am not hating on Damien. My oldest son went there (he’s even featured in that photo of the Pit) and my younger son will also (probably) be a Spartan.

  • nada mucho

    for “You “coaches” know nada” –
    This shows that you know “nada”. You wrote : “. Unfortunately, LVL scheduled their big showcase on the same day the APU Showcase occurs or the Trojans would be there at the Felix Center in January. ”
    Guess what? It’s not an APU event, is run by Rowland HS and you could be in bed with the APU coaches and still not get an invitation. Bottom line – the comment about local coaches with influence is true – no respect for microwave teams that are quickly built through the coaches travel involvement. That is how Mater Deo got on everyones bad side when McNight came in with his boys for the South Coast program and transfers via Pat Barrett.
    The only difference is LVL’s reign will be short lived because, unlike McNight, Cooper will move on once he’s taken care of his family and got himself a real coaching job.

  • sgv

    Best gym is Damien, best or loudest fans usually Bonita and they travel well too. Teams…LVL returns a ton so they are 1, followed by Bonita returns a bunch of seniors including guard Northrop, Spartans have the 2nd best big in town and that takes nothing away from Reyes as he is a stud.

  • please

    can we just get la vern lu vs dhs already? i remember last year dunn didn’t wanna schedule a game against them because….

  • just askin’

    please said:
    can we just get la vern lu vs dhs already? i remember last year dunn didn’t wanna schedule a game against them because….

    …their coach circumvented the system, came in with a ready made travel team, and no one respects him?

    Is that what you were going to say?

  • sgv

    don’t see the LVL, damien, bontia or glendora games or city tourney happening for reason not about big school vs little or public vs private. Issue is CIF limits and rules on games played, could see this happen if it was pre season or summer. Dunn did not back off, think rules and schedules made well ahead of the suggestion…

  • I was just thinking

    I know that having a local mini-tourney this year isn’t possible, but it is something that definitely could be done with proper planning and could be done early in the year without scheduling issues.

    It might be wishful thinking, but I think it would be a cool thing for the community, regardless of all the animosity over the location from which the LVL players originate or the disdain for how Cooper built his program, if I do say so myself.

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