High school basketball in Los Angeles isn’t as fun anymore.
Even just a few years ago there were great rivalries and there was amazing competition around the city. Tournaments were showcases for high-octane play. Now, formerly great teams barely have personnel. It’s not the same, and it bums me out.
Part of the reason can be found in this piece, about a Valley school hiring an 18-year-old man to be their boy’s volleyball coach:
Around Southern California, finding coaches in a variety of sports has become increasingly difficult. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, lots of schools are no longer allowing sports teams to use sixth period as part of their practice time, causing some teachers to say no thanks to coaching duties because they don’t want to spend extended time after school for little pay. That means finding walk-ons, and young, untested recent high school graduates are getting early head coach opportunities. That can be good and bad.
The good is some of them could develop into outstanding coaches. The bad is they have little experience and could make big mistakes. In the old days, before becoming a head coach, candidates spent time coaching lower-level teams or serving as an assistant. They were mentored. Now, schools are more than willing to give a chance to the youngest of the young, especially when the stipend is a mere $2,311.
So the younger coaches care, but do they have experience and knowledge to teach needed playing and life skills to young people? No. And the result of that is the breed of basketball players we see now, on both the girls and boys side: sorely lacking in fundamentals.
I am interviewing a pro player who is trying to do something about this phenomenon. I’ll be bringing that to you later this week.