Award season: Your thoughts on boys/girls basketball coach of the year/players of the year

I’ll start asking about other sports in the coming days as we’re in the process of selecting all area teams for the winter sports, so let’s start with boys and girls hoops. Aram and I had a heated/fun exchange over coaching selections, so I would love to hear your thoughts on boys and girls basketball coach of the year and players of the year for boys and girls?

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  • from 0-37 to co-leader in 2 years

    I think Jason Rochwerg needs consideration here as COY. Last January Wilson had a streak of 0-37 (over a five year period) in league basketball before they won. Last year Rochwerg took Wilson to the 2nd round in CIF and this year (even moving up a division) also took the team to the 2nd round in CIF.

    Wilson, Covina, and Northview all finished 9-3 in league.

    Not only that, of the 10 players named this year to the All VVL basketball teams – 5 of the 10 were from Wilson: Kato, Nelson, Ng, Delasario and Miramontes

    with who he has, he gets the boys ready and compete with anyone

  • Watcher

    Coach Bissman and Coach Masi from Covina deserve the award. Both coaches led their respective teams to a deep playoff run, and both won a league title. The girls had the best season in history getting to the semi finals and boys had the best season since 1978 winning league for the first time since 1995 and getting to the quarterfinals.

  • Coach Eckler from Bonita always does a great job with his players. Also, I am not sure Fred or Aram saw a Bonita boys basketball game this year, but Garrett Horine (Hacienda League Defensive MVP for football) was Hacienda League MVP for basketball. He should at least make one of the Tribune first teams.

  • Reality

    It’s gotta be Bonita’s GREG ECKLER as Coach of the Year. Year after year, this guy builds winners. He must be taking coach-PED’s. Eckler, however, has one thing working against him; he avoids the press. Fred and other media don’t like him, in part, because he doesn’t report to MaxPreps and doesn’t suck up to them. He doesn’t have to. The award is COACH of the year, not “nice guy coach” award. If your criteria is a coach who made a difference in his team’s winning season, you need look no further than GREG ECKLER.

    Garrett Horrine = easy MVP, all area and the guy you most should fear on a basketball court (or football field) Congrats to Horrine and Eckler on a season no one expected from little ol’ Bonita

  • Bfan

    Coach Bissman and Coach Masi from Covina both deserve the awards. Both coaches led their respective teams to a deep playoff run, and both won a league title. The girls had the best season in history getting to the semi finals for the first time in history and boys had the best season since 1978 winning league for the first time since 1995 and getting to the quarterfinals. This has been said furthermore both coaches got the most out of their neighborhood kids and exceeded expectations.Coaching really comes into play when you have less talent than other teams and still win. Thats why both of these coaches have my vote for boys and girls coaches of the year.

  • bfan

    Coach Bissman and Coach Masi from Covina both deserve the awards. Both coaches led their respective teams to a deep playoff run, and both won a league title. The girls had the best season in history getting to the semi finals for the first time in history and boys had the best season since 1978 winning league for the first time since 1995 and getting to the quarterfinals. This has been said furthermore both coaches got the most out of their neighborhood kids and exceeded expectations.Coaching really comes into play when you have less talent than other teams and still win. Thats why both of these coaches have my vote for boys and girls coaches of the year.


    Coach Masi of Covina girls basketball and Coach Eckler for Bonita boys basketball. Coach Masi led a team no body even talked about and made them more than relevant in the valley by taking them to the semifinals which is the farthest in the schools history, were undefeated 12-0 league champs and an overall 25-4 record that individually are average players and turned them into a competitive team.

    Coach Eckler also had an overall less talented individuals but turned them into a very solid team. They worked hard and made it to the semifinals before losing to a very athletic Pasadena team, also were undefeated 12-0 league champs and a 25-5 record.

    Both coaches out coached other talented teams and coaches to have their team win games. Both coaches weren’t even expected to win league and did. Weren’t ranked the highest in preseason polls and yet ended up with great teams with great records.

  • Is there going to be a San Gabriel Tribune vs. Pasadena Star News All-Star Basketball Game this year?

  • Charger Basketball

    Jenny Strycula should be the coach of the year hands down. The way she turned around the Chargers program in her 1st year was hard to believe.She took basically the same group of girls that won only 1 game last year and took them all the way to the quarter finals this year. Thank you coach Jenny

  • For Girls Coach

    SGV BBALL FAN, you are crazy to think that Nick Masi deserves Coach of the year over Jenny Strycula. Lets compare, “Charter Oak program was in the crapper, and was brought back to relevance in a highly competitive league and division.” Now lets look at Masi, “Covina program has been dominant for close to ten years and plays in a weak league and division.” So lets all congratulate Covina Coach for not messing up the program, but Jenny Strycula is clearly a stronger candidate for coach of the year.

  • Colt74

    For Girls Coach,

    So..”Covina plays in a weak league and division” but STILL SPANKED CHARTER OAK 62-35 when they met..

    So just how bad does that make Charter Oak compared to Covina again? AND..if a record of 12-17 is “back to relevance in a highly competitive league and division” I would have to disagree about how just how competitive you were in REALITY..
    In WHAT alternate universe does a 12-17 record credit COACH OF THE YEAR????????????????

    Please…wait till I stop laughing before you reply…

  • For Boys Coach

    My argument is similar regarding the boys coach, which have three strong candidates Bonita’s Greg Eckler, Wilson’s Jason Rochwerg and Covina’s William Bissman, “Bonita program – Coach Eckler has coached the Bearcats to another successful season. So this year he was only expected to be maybe second place in league but his well oiled machine continues to produce quality teams. Eckler is deserving but didn’t do anything special this year.”
    Wilson, “Coach Rochwerg, had a very strong team, the deepest in the Valley Vista League. The only flaw in his season was his inability to coach his deep team to sole possession of league championship and his collapse against a less then outsatanding Bishop Amat team in the playoffs. Also Coach Rochwerg success is slightly inflated due to league movement, Wilson would have been competitive in the Valley Vista League too under previous coaches.”
    Covina,”Like Coach Rochwerg, Coach Bissman has coached Covina back to relevance. Covina had fewer VVL league all league players, thus demonstrating Bissman’s ability as a Coach over Rochwerg. In Bissman’s 5-6 years coaching he took a team that hasn’t won more than 3rd place in close to twenty years to a league championship and the #1 seed from the Valley Vista League without a league MVP or 5 all league players. Bissman like Eckler coached his team to a quarter finals appearance. The only flaw in the argument to have Bissman win coach of the year was that they began the season ranked low in the tribune and CIF and finished the season being better then expected (I guess that isn’t really a flaw).”

    All three would be good choices, but Covina and Bissman I think Bissman squeaks ahead for the subtle reasons listed above…

  • For Girls Coach

    Colts74 I hope you had enough time to stop laughing. You are right my argument for coach of the year is about as crazy as making an argument for a coach to win coach of the year for taking over a highly successful program and continuing that success WITH THE FORMER HEAD COACH SITTING ON THEIR BENCH. Who should actually get the award, the assistant or the head coach? 😉 But Colts74 there will be no arguing against you, you are the king of all homers on this message board so I can appreciate your passion for your team. I think a coach that improves a program instead of performing maintenance on an already successful program is more deserving of recognition. Call me crazy. What my argument does show (and yours) is how bad girls basketball in the area has gotten in the last 3-5 years. In all honesty if Charter Oak and Covina played in a real division, both would have been bounced out in the first or second round. Actually I think I am going to change my mind about my choice, I say the Workman girls coach would be the best choice. They at least played competitive CIF teams. Or maybe Duarte….

  • Colt4life

    I think Covina’s Coaches William Bissman and Nick Masi are deserving of COY recognition. Although the girls team have been competing at a high level for a long time Masi continued that success and built on it with more playoff success then ever. William Bissman is especially deserving for what he has done with the Boys program. Coach Bissman has built and reestablished a program that has had limited success over the last 30 years, all of this done in the highly competitive Valle Vista League. Bissman also was a player on the 1995 Colts team that last won a league championship, so an article on him would be a great story! I think Coach Masi also once played for the Colts!

  • WinningCoaches

    For Boy’s COY it is obvious that the only candidate should be Coach Cooper of the mighty Trojans of Lutheran! He has all of the accolades to show it, CIF SS Championship? Check. CIF State Championship? Check. The guy is a winner, always has been and always will be. Yes he has all of the talent in the world, he recruits, yada yada yada…. we know, we get it. BUT he still wins and never underachieves, even in the most difficult division ever known to man. Granted they did not win CIF this year, but they gave it a valiant effort and will have another crack at it during the state tournament. How many other coaches in the area can say they’re still coaching this late in the season? Oh wait that would be Coach Wiard of the Bishop Amat Lancers. He would have to be my pick for the Girl’s COY. Undoubtedly the greatest girl’s basketball coach in SGV history did it once again in what many thought was going to be a down year. And quite frankly it was, the played in probably the WEAKEST division ever known to man, but still won every game by at least 10 points. With this undersized team, someone surely could have and probably should have knocked them off, but nobody could and nobody did. They even did it against the best team in the valley, the Bonita bearcats. Coach Baumunk cannot coach after witnessing that game last night; he had the two best players on the court by far and could not come out with a victory!! I was really hoping they would win and get some revenge on Arroyo Grande, but after seeing that debacle NO WAY!

    Boy’s First team
    Grant Jerret – POY
    Chris Reyes
    Traevon Francis (Northview)
    Eric Cooper Jr.
    Garrett Horine (Bonita)

    Girl’s First Team
    Leeah Powell (Bishop Amat)
    Barnes from Diamond Ranch – POY?
    Herrera from Workman – POY?
    Ramirez from Amat
    Nikki Wheatley (bonita) – POY?

  • For Girls/Boys Coach

    WinningCoaches I would agree with you if this wasn’t the newspaper business – your choices would probably sell like 12 newspapers. 😉 COY should be for coach of the YEAR, not a lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately I don’t think the paper pays that much attention to basketball in the area to make a very informed choice on who is actually doing the best High School coaching. There are probably coaches out there that are better basketball minds that aren’t being mentioned because they never have the talent to compete for league or CIF success. Instead wins losses are the priority and of course – politics! While La Verne and Amat’s success deserve recognition both have established themselves as perennial success stories that are more then just traditional prep programs.

  • wait till he gets 2 Coach Talent!

    Coach Jason Rochwerg this Season is My COY. its just a hell of a Job he did with the talent he has 2 work with. He had those Kids playing their Hearts Out for Him. in only 3 years a League Championship,Host 3 Playoff Games. Win Increase each Year! Give the Man his do!

  • One man’s opinion

    POY hands down is Jerrett! Boys COY could be Wilson coach, Covina coach or Bonita coach

  • Sgvbball fan

    Charter oak went 5-5 in a terrible league of which Covina beat 3 teams including league champ st Lucy’s by 25 points each game. Charter Oak is awful. Workman girls didn’t even win a poor league & they had a 25 point per game transfer. Duarte played the weakest schedule in girls basketball history which is embarressing because he has possibly the best player in the valley in Brown on his team. Amat with a Mater Dei transfer played in a equal league where they are all allowed to recruit & got fourth place so that scratches out his coaching performance on the season. Hes a great coach but this season wasnt his best. Covina hasn’t been dominant in the last four years & with the exact same team his assistant had the year prior that got beat down last year turned them into a 25-4 team & nobody on Masi team is a scholarship player.

    Top girls players of the year:
    Wheatley -Bonita
    Kennedy- Bonita
    Four girls from Amat
    Herrera from workman
    2 from Diamond Ranch
    Brown from duarte

    Men’s side again Eckler did a great job with what he had. Bissman led the boys to a league championship & Wilson did it but choked winning league outright.

  • Ball junkie

    Coach Lanier for finally bringing St Lucys out of the basketball abyss.

  • Anonymous

    Amat’s Richard Wiard did another great job. His established program attracts top talent including the future D-1 transfer from MD, but she is a sophomore. Wiard coached his young and undersized team to an excellent finish, including beating a fine Bonita team with 2 future D-1s.

    Honorable mention to Mondo Lanier for taking St. Lucy’s to their first league title in 18 years and the first quarterfinals appearance in at least as long. Lanier does not get great talent (yet), but in 5 years has taken St. Lucy’s from perennial loser to league champion. Honorable mention also to Jenny Strycula for taking Charter Oak to the second round of playoffs with essentially the same team that went 1-9 in league last year.

    Mentions also to Nick Masi (Covina) and Tracy Calton (Wilson) for again producing winning seasons at their already established programs.

  • Basketball Coach and St.Lucy’s fan….

    St.Lucy’s basketball Coach LaNier is one of the most dedicated coaches in the business. His six seasons at St.Lucy’s explains it all.

    Coach LaNier first season in league going 0-10 is enough for most coaches to pack their bags and head west.

    Coach LaNier persevered and accepted the Team and it difficult challenges ahead. Coach LaNier began to teach his Team the basic fundamentals of basketball.

    After six seasons of persistence and getting his Team to believe in him and is philosophy. Coach LaNier wins league.


  • reality

    Richard Wiard is a great coach but lets be real that he didn’t win this year against teams like his in league. They should change the name from Bishop Amat to SGV All-Stars because that school has the same enrollment as most schools in the valley and you add in he can legally recruit kids from all over. Its not even near realistic to compare his team to any other local public schools.

  • sgv BBALL FAN

    St. Lucys only won because Mel Sims is gone at Ayala. Nobody in his league has over a .500 record. Thats terrible that he can barely win league with a private school.

  • IE Basketball

    Boys POY HAS to be Grant Jerrett. He’s the only boys player from California this year and the first boys player from the SGV area to be named a McDonald’s All American since Casey Jacobsen in ’99

  • MrMan

    How do you “barely win”? I was under the assumption that winning is winning. Mel Sims retirement only evened the playing field as Ayala was one of the most recruited public schools around. St Lucys is a volleyball school. No one goes there to play basketball and they do not recruit. St Lucys is not part of the archdiocese therefore they don’t have the resource others have. They played the teams that were put in front of them and finished 19-7 overall and “barely” won league 8-2. Very respectable for a program that has been the whooping boy for years.
    I hope they can “barely win” next season.

  • Fan

    Nikki Wheatley is a no brainer for girls POY. She led the lady Bearcats to a 27-5 record, semi’s of CIF AAA for the second year and league champion. All this with the lost of both Taylor Anderson (POY) 2011 and Bearcats all-time leading scorer Madison Zyltra. I believe she was the MVP of the prestigious Beverly Hills/Burbank Tournament that featured many D1 prospects including Pasadena Poly’s own Michelle Miller. If you want to watch this girlsush and dedication to excellence, travel to La verne LA Fitness and watch and be amazed at her work-outs. We are blessed to have two more years to watch this amazing girls basketball player.

  • Bballer

    First off congrats to all coaches on their seasons. Thank you guys for all you do for the kids. I think Coach Lanier is coach of the year this season I just looked up their season and they went 8-0 at home this year they won their league for the first time since 1995 they went to the third round of playoffs only to lose to a solid Atacasdero team in the last 30seconds of the game. So that deserves some kind of merit Lanier has taken a program from the gutter and made them revelant again, not to take anything from Bishop Amat great coaching staff and historically good every year and i’m sure he’s won before, and Covina great coaches they get the most out of their players every year. But Lanier seems to have made a difference I looked it up St. Lucy’s went 5-40 the two previous seasons before Lanier got there since he is 80-61 overall . This is a seson by season award what you’ve done in the past or what you might do next year doesn’t make you a COY canidate. And for those who say that any team or players are not good if they are in your league or you played them and they beat you or won the league and you didnt then what does that make you?

  • R Gary

    St Lucy’s was a a name in basketball in 1997-1999 and early 2000, knocking off amat in 1999 and going to the Div 2 finals only to lose to Dominguez. since then, they have been up and down with some very bad seasons. They do not recruit and are a private “private ” school not part of the LA dio, and do not give scholarships like the other catholic school in the area.All students are there because of their academics.
    Hands down, coach of the year should go to Mondo Lanier, for what he has accomplished in a difficult environment and the Sierra League.

  • 105 year HISTORY

    Thats nuts that you can think a coach at St. Lucy’s who lost 2 league games, got beat by 25 to Covina, had less wins & more losses than Covina & didn’t even make it as far in the playoffs as Covina is comparable to Coach Masi. St Lucy had some great teams in the late 90s. Your talking that st Lucy’s hasn’t won league in a few years & than barely crawling in as champs in an awful league that Covina beat 3 Sierra league teams all by 25 or more is comparable to a coach that took his team the farthest in the 105 year HISTORY of Covina since girls were allowed to play. Think about how long 105 years is. Think about he did something that has never been done. Than you say they lost to Atascadero who didn’t even make the finals as opposed to Covina playing the SGV all stars in Amat who live all over the valley & have equal enrollment as Covina which Amat were the eventual champs playing in a Division they didn’t belong in. Your arguments hold no merrit. Not to mention st Lucy’s have kids that live out of the area & he still lost by 25 to Covina with local kids who had a bad season the year prior. Lastly 105 year history. Before all of us including this paper was even thought of.

  • MrMan

    “barely”? Man that is a over and missed used word.

  • Not dominant?

    Somebody earlier said Covina girls coach Masi didn’t take over a dominant team. Didn’t they win league 3 out of the last 5 years? and those years they didn’t, how far down did they go 2nd, maybe 3rd? And on top of that haven’t they won league like 7 of the last 10 years? If that’s not dominant then what is? He is riding the coat tails of Kerns and Gustafson, I wonder how he will do next year? I think Coach Masi should be disqualified from COY by his inability to coach with class. How many teams did he press the ENTIRE GAME when his opponents didn’t have a guard that could get the ball past half court – yet he kept pressing to run up the score? Did they ever even run a half court offense? He fits into the typical no class style of play that they like at that school. Run the score up against weak opponents, and never play competitive teams – the Covina Way! Bonita coach and Coach Wiard are stronger candidates for girls coach of the year, classy teams from classy schools.

  • Hoopsrule

    Sarah Jackson outplayed every post player at Bonita this season! Job well done!

  • honestly..

    to be completely honest, i agree with the comment before mine. Coach Masi has no class. & the only team that is tough to beat in their league is Wilson, if even that. Covina held the ball until there was ten seconds left on the shot clock when they played Wilson. Is that skill? haha. it was probably the most boring game in the world. talk about scared? yup. Ashli Baddorf is garbage. she cannot dribble. the only thing she is capable of doing is faast breaking. marissa clark is WAY better than Ashli Baddorf but didn’t get enough credit because Ashlis too busy hogging the ball so she can throw up another airball. i mean, good job being league champs but who would be proud of that in that sucky league? Put Covina in the Hacienda League and tell me if they’d even finish on top.