As football kicks off around the state and we prepare to release our preseason CIF Bowl Game Rankings, we’ve been also keeping up with the basketball scene.
The major happenings involved one highly-regarded player leaving the state, and another returning after a brief departure.
Senior Namon Wright, who helped Pacific Hills of Los Angeles win the 2013 CIF Division IV state title and was named third team all-state, is returning to the Westside school. In the spring, Wright announced he’d attend powerhouse Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), but had a change of mind.
Wright, a shooting guard, didn’t have a particularly strong summer and likely would have been a back-up, especially with Findlay Prep brining in Rashad Vaughn, the nation’s top two-guard from Robbinsdale Cooper (New Hope, Minn.), later in the summer.
Wright’s cousin, 6-8 Devin Burleson, left St. John Bosco after his junior season and will play at Highland of Palmdale as a senior.
While Wright is returning, 6-7 senior Kameron Chatman is leaving California. Chatman would have been one of the state’s five best prospects at Long Beach Poly, but he’s returning to Portland and reportedly will play at small school Columbia Christian (Portland, Ore.). As a junior, Chatman played junior varsity after transferring from Jefferson (Portland, Ore.). The CIFSS ruled he could not play on the varsity based on its interpretation of rules regarding following a travel ball coach to a high school.
Chatman technically played for Poly’s varsity in 2013 when Jackrabbits coach Sharrief Metoyer, Chatman’s godfather and coach on ICP Elite, subbed him in against Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the state open division regional playoffs in the game’s final minute and its outcome well decided. The CIF suspended Metoyer for the 2013-14 season and him not being the coach likely played a role in the decision for Chatman to return to Oregon.
In other news, Jelani Gardner, the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball for 1993-94 at St. John Bosco of Bellflower, resigned as coach at La Salle in Pasadena after one season.
Gardner told Cal-Hi Sports his decision has nothing to do with his health. Gardner had a kidney transfer in March of 2002 and has battled some health problems in recent years relating to his kidneys.