Pondering City ball vs. suburbs/Orange County ball

Saturday night I ended up sitting with a fellow teacher at the Brea-Edison game. He is a former coach himself, and coached a few of the Edison girls in their earlier years. We ended up talking about how basketball playing styles differ between the City Section schools and schools further out, in Orange County and beyond.

Teacher man sees a different game – namely, that city schools play a more athletic brand of hoop. He sees suburban school female players afraid to take the jump shot, hesitant to take contact. City schools, he maintains, just bang more, while suburban school teams have more rules. I told him about how Brea Coach Jeff Sink uses the “five pass before the shot” rule with his squad, and teacher man nodded and said, “yeah, that kinda stuff.”

In general, I tend to agree with teacher man. City schools usually have more bounce, and if a player is good, you know her style if you go to enough games. For example, Chatsworth’s Gennifer Brandon has a huge cache of tricks under the basket to get the ball into it. Kejuana Gardner of Washington Prep grabs rebounds mid-air, in crazy body positions. On the other hand, Brea has 18 players, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything special I’ve noticed about any of them (and no, I’m not picking on Brea or saying anything bad about Sink – they’re just an example).

There are two exceptions that I have seen this season to the Orange County/suburban rule: Mater Dei and Cajon. Mater Dei is an extremely athletic team, and two of their top players – Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Alexyz Vailotama – have distinct playing styles. So does Layshia Clarendon of Cajon, which is also an athletic team.

So I’m opening the floor for discussion.

1. Are city teams more athletic than suburban teams? Do they bang harder?
2. Are suburban teams more structured?
3. Which do you think is best, and why?


  1. Problem is that when you watch a lot of the athletic players, they have poor footwork and rely too much on their athleticism and don’t work on their game – at the college level this won’t hack it – you have to be smart, fundamental and be relatively athletic.

  2. Anonymous 1, that’s a valid point. I’ve heard many decry the lack of fundamentals shown by the players of some teams.

    Anonymous 2, your comment bordered on allegations, so if you want to re-post and sign your name, go ahead and do so.

  3. I read the post about Brea and can confirm that it’s basically well known what goes on at Brea – I have also seen and heard the things going on at Brea and you could easily check the stats regarding the seniors who yourself have pointed out sit the Brea bench. There were plenty of parents talking about it at the last game- you probably should have sat on our side. Thats why the principal is finally getting involved. It is a real shame that these girls who were born in Brea never get to play and it’s not because of their ability but because of the ego of the Brea coach.

  4. You’re entitled to your viewpoints, but the post is meant to stimulate discussion about different playing styles; I’m not going after any particular program and have nothing against any team or coach.

  5. You really have opened a can of worms as the title itself could imply racial significance for a lot of people.

    I myself believe that people confuse athleticism with skill and don’t really know the game of basketball when they do that. You also read the many stories of athletes being chosen and then dropping out of college as what happens is that a lot of these HSs will baby these players so they can be eligible instead of doing their job and preparing them for college as in an education.

    The Brea situation could be some real journalism as it ties hand in hand what is happening at a predominantly white school, in looking at the ethnic make up -it’s hard to understand how 80% of the minutes given to your team are to black kids and that the % of black kids at the school is minuscule – the feeling seems to be that the coach is bringing in players who are deemed athletically gifted and then providing perks and privileges that are not afforded to the rest of the team. Very Interesting scenario.

  6. With all due respect, it’s you who’s opening the can of worms. It’s a gross over-simplification in Southern California to characterize city basketball teams as being black and suburban teams as white.

    One of the things I love about living in this area is that there is extremely little to no traditional segregation here, whether you’re talking about basketball or life in general. For example, last year I took some of my kids to coastal Oxnard CC for a game, and most of the audience was black. Monday night I took a trip out to Colony High School in Ontario, which lies in an open field right next door to a huge dairy farm. Almost the entire Colony team is black.

    I maintain that the city game and the suburban game in this area is different, and I’m interested in how others see it. I’m not interested in going after Jeff Sink or his program.

    Perhaps “athleticism vs. fundamentals” would be a good direction for this discussion, but then again, those shouldn’t necessarily be mutually exclusive.

  7. You need to reread my comment – FYI I am black and I for one do not like the stereotype either but I would like to see that our kids are not only getting a good education but also being taught that athleticism will only get you so far. You assumed I was white maybe because I can draw conclusions from statistics! That does not however stop the comparisons and either way it draws on what communities are doing that may enable such stereotyping.

  8. Wow, OK, holding up the peace sign here. I wasn’t making any assumptions about you or anyone else. You could be anyone sitting behind that monitor. I hope you weren’t assuming that I’m a racist.

    We don’t disagree on education in the slightest. As an educator, I preach education first every single day. Just yesterday I was trying to talk to a student who isn’t focusing so much on school because he will be a pro ball player, he says. No matter that he wasn’t even on the team this year.

    I think that failure to realize the work ethic necessary for success in life is a generational thing, not a racial thing. And a lot of coaches need to teach that more.

  9. That is totally my point – it should always be education first and if I may add especially for those who may be sought after for their athletic prowess, I just feel that there is an abuse there and that some don’t have the true intentions that we are talking about. What comes after sports or an injury, all kids need an education first!

  10. We are from a mixed marriage and I do understand having listened to a lot of the Brea parents why they are so upset – when winning is not earned or not worked for, what lessons are those kids being taught, it doesn’t help those kids who they have recruited if they don’t have to follow the same rules as the Brea kids or earn their starting spots or playing time.