You remember Jelani Gardner, right? Why is he in hot water coaching 7 and 8 year olds?

“I never cursed in front of kids, I never threatened a referee. It’s unbelievable how someone who feels threatened by you because we’re in the same business, (basketball training) can create lies and it be released in the news…How can you have violated league rules and never received a technical foul?? How can you be suspended by the league, when the board is full of family and friends of the opposing coaches?? Not one of my parents complained, every complaint was from the board or a parent from the opposing team. What a joke the wcyl is, it’s sad because this lack of professionalism and lack of basic basketball knowledge is seting our youth up for failure. they’re kids depending on adults to teach them the correct way, the same as a first or second grade teacher. Because the leaders of the league, Carlos Ayon, and Tom Fraijo played middle school basketball. they have the responsibility of setting the foundation for the city of WC?? Ignorance is Bliss!”A comment from Jelani Gardner in the comment thread of this story, which is our number one read topic today, check it out.

You remember Jelani Gardner don’t you? Bishop Amat and St. John Bosco phenom. Star at Cal Berkeley. He’s also a resident of West Covina coaching 7 & 8 year olds in the West Covina Youth Basketball League.This is an interesting read, apparently Gardner has been suspended for one year for allegedly using profanity and arguing with referee’s, yet he’s never even received a technical in a game and denies the use of profanity. Is this parents over-reacting to an isolated incident?
Is this one or two parents of kids who probably aren’t playing much making a bigger issue than this needs to be? Or is Gardner truly too much for 7 and 8 year olds? Gardner complains in the story about the league’s rule of not allowing players to double team a star player, saying the league is teaching them the wrong way to play basketball, which I completely agree with. Who makes rules like that and for what reason? In any case, read the comments portion of the story, makes me believe this is another case of one or two trouble-making parents over-reacting more than a coach who is over-bearing. What I also found interesting was listening to our reporter who covered the recent board meeting related to Gardner. She said it was so passionate and loud it was frightening. Maybe the parents can set a better example by discussing instead of shouting because I’ll tell you what, I’ve been to plenty of youth and high school games, and the people in the stands or sidelines are usually far worse than the coaches they complain about. Your thoughts?

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  • coltfan97

    I agree with you Fred, the fans and/or parents are worse than the coaches and players! I have seen it personally this year alone! I was at a football where the parents were going off on there own coach! Sad to see that, and it’s horrible! This is the type of behavior we are teaching our kids these days!!!

    Furthermore, parents are trying to live their lives through their kids which is truly pathetic!

  • coltfan97

    I agree with you Fred, the fans and/or parents are worse than the coaches and players! I have seen it personally this year alone! I was at a football where the parents were going off on there own coach! Sad to see that, and it’s horrible! This is the type of behavior we are teaching our kids these days!!!

    Furthermore, parents are trying to live their lives through their kids which is truly pathetic!

  • whittier fan

    its really sad that every parent thinks their son or daughter is a superstar. i have also seen several instances where the parents are far worse than the coaches. if this really was a parent who was upset about playing time or some stupid crap like that, then karma is a b#$!@…..

  • So right!

    You are so right Fred! I cannot stand the parents in the stands who seem to catch EVERY SINGLE CALL the refs “miss” or goes against their team. I call them “bleacher refs” and they make it utterly impossible to enjoy a game.

  • bfan

    Parents can be very overbearing at times.This is supposed to be games and teaching. Winning is secondary.Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Jelani was a great basketball player and a fine young man. Even if he had a slip up an cursed banning him from the league is not in order. He is donating his time and energy to teaching kids how to play the game of basketball. A warning should have been given and then if another violation occured then take more action and punishment.Let the kids play and parents stay out of the way. Just my thoughts.

  • fb102

    Fred, WHY are you bringing this petty catfight over YOUTH sports into THIS blog? First thing that comes to mind: MORE HITS for the blog.

    The news portion of the SGV Trib is ‘covering’ this just fine.

    Reading the comments after the article is pure entertainment. JG himself weighs in repeatedly defending himself. WTH. IF JG has ANY credibility, he will remove himself from the situation and move to another ‘opportunity’ to save youth basketball.

  • Get a life

    I can’t believe that this guy is complaining about not being allowed to double team in the 7 & 8 year old division. The fact that you would agree with him, Fred, just tells me that you don’t have any kids that have ever been involved in youth basketball at a young age. Probably 90-95% of all youth basketball leagues have a rule of no double teams at the younger age groups. Usually kids are allowed to double team in the painted area but certainly not outside of the painted area. These rules are there for a reason. If they didn’t have these rules for the younger kids then many teams would never score a basket and some teams would never so much as get a shot off at the basket. If this guy wants to be so “hard core” at such a young age, then he needs to put a travel team together and hit the road on the AAU circuit. This is a city youth basketball league that is trying to help develop basic basketball skills (dribbling, passing, man to man defense) in young players, many of whom are 1st and 2nd year players at that age. Trust me when I tell you, there will be plenty of opportunity over the next 5 or so years to step these young kids up into a more sophisticated brand of basketball.
    AS far as the personal issues to run the guy out of the league, my guess is that this guy is just too much of a hard core basketball dad that’s behaving as if he’s coaching 11 & 12 year olds as opposed to 7 & 8 year olds.

  • St John Bosco asst coach

    To make the story even more relevant. Gardner was on the SJB bench as an assistant coach when the Braves blew out Covina on Tuesday. Way to “guve back” to your community!

  • elmontefan

    Jelani Gardner played youth, travel, high school, college and professional basketball. I’m pretty sure he knows more about basketball then everyone in this room. He’s a good guy giving back to his community. You should all take notes. I’m sure the other peewee basketball parents are just trying to get rid of the guy cause he knows what he’s doing. He’s not at fault and is an asset to the league. It’s all these coaches doing the daddy-son ball. So they can play before high school. Truth is a lot of these daddy-son kids never make it on a team come high school, lol.

  • Fred Robledo

    Get a life, maybe I’m too old school, when I was a kid they kept standings at the youngest ages in little league and soccer, posted your batting averages on the snack bar, we weren’t coddled like it was today. It was actually okay to lose, not like some of the youth leagues and the youngest levels that don’t keep score so little Johnny won’t be embarrassed or humiliated for losing.

  • just sayin

    Fred – They also start Little Leaguers in TBall, then move to Coach Pitch, gradually move the mound and bases back, and start with a continuous batting order before they graduate to just 9 – all because they want to teach a proper prgression. Throwing 7-8 yr olds into double teams will never allow kids to develop the skills to pass & catch. It also becomes apparent that it is easier for yur best aer to dribble out of the double team than to pass out of it – so the game becomes dominated by one or two kids.

    elmontefan – Gardner IS a daddy witha son on the team. He also needs to recognize it os not travel, high school, college, or pro that he is coaching. That appears to be the problem.

  • SGV for 30 Years

    Hey Fred,

    You forgot to mention the part about how he got his coach fired and band from coaching at Cal. I’m alright with someone giving back to the community. You should do a story about all the former SGV stars from years past are working in the youth leagues in the area.

    SGV430 Ouuuuttt!!!!

  • Get a life

    I never said that they shouldn’t keep score or standings or even crown a champion at the end of the season. I’m all for competition at all levels of youth sports. However, if they allowed double teams at the lower levels of youth basketball the game would be nothing but a tug-of-war for the basketball at mid court. The no double team rule makes for a better game of basketball, especially at the younger levels. It wasn’t too long ago that the NBA had a “no zone defense” rule and a “no double team off the ball” rule. Why did the NBA have such a rules? because they felt it made for better basketball.

    If you think a guy is going to be a good coach simply because he played a certain sport at a high level, your wrong. And if you think a guy is automatically going to be a good youth coach simply because he has coached at a higher level, again, your wrong. Youth sports, especially the youngest levels of youth sports are an entirely different sport. Some former great players have no problem with the transition but there are many that end up doing a terrible job at these levels of play. Just so you know, I don’t what kind of coach this guy is. Maybe he’s a real good coach and someone just does’t like personally. Then again, maybe he is coaching 7 & 8 year old kids like their 15 & 16 year old high school kids.

  • SGV’s Best

    I find your take interesting Fred. I, too, believe that sports has become too “coddling”. For this very reason I like the fact that there are different levels of athletics for kids. For SGV basketball alone you have church leagues, city rec leagues, several different levels of NJB (Instructional, Divisional, All-Net, All-Star) and travel ball.

    In a city rec league letting 7 and 8 year olds double team is a bad idea. In NJB Divisional it’s fine. Parents need to identify the proper level for their kids and sign them up where they will benefit most.

    Another example is baseball where 7’s and 8’s don’t lead off at any level. Even in USSSA travel ball they don’t. Maybe 1 out of 100 8 year old catchers could throw out a base stealer who gets a jump.

    Mr. McCoy should do what someone suggested. Hold a tryout, form a team and play travel ball. I think everyone involved will be happier.

  • treknoid

    “St John Bosco asst coach said:

    To make the story even more relevant. Gardner was on the SJB bench as an assistant coach when the Braves blew out Covina on Tuesday. Way to “guve back” to your community!”

    @ st john bosco asst coach, are you really an assistant coach at Bosco? If so I hope you are being sarcastic. I guess you couldn’t resist the slam on Covina mentioning the blow out. Stay classy Bosco. Commenting on that is like commenting on The Western Conference All Stars for the NBA beating the washington generals. You are right, way to “guve back” Jelani. If Jelani was really giving back to the community he would have been sitting on the Covina bench as an assistant coach, not an over-priviledged private school. But that is not Jelani’s style. He wants to back a guarenteed winner. He wants the photo op with the championship trophy. If Jelani really wanted to give back to the community he would apply for the first vacated coaching position that comes available at a public high school in the area (trust me i am confident they are coming – just like with football) and see what his coaching talents could do for one of those programs. Instead he is going to start his own league, where cussing at games is allowed as long as you follow it up with a God bless you.