The LA-area high school basketball axis is shifting

Every few years in the Los Angeles area, it seems that a class graduates which consists of numerous star basketball players. 2011 is such a class. Gone to college now are many of the area’s top athletes, which will cause several high school teams to have to rebuild this coming season.

Along with those graduations, there are some big coaching changes, too.

Ricky Blackmon, who has coached at Washington Prep for a decade, is now assistant coach at Westchester High School. And who is the new head coach there? Longtime Carson High coach Marcel Sanders.

It’s an especially interseting alignment, considering the two men coached against each other for so long in the Marine League. The only more heated rivalry than Prep and Carson was either of those two schools against Narbonne – another member of the same league.

For Blackmon, the switch began last spring when the Los Angeles Unified School District transferred him as a teacher to Carson. I’m not sure what spurred Sanders to vacate his position, as I’ve been unable to reach him.

Longtime Prep assistant coach Keyshawna Ledet will take over as head at Washington. No word yet on who will be Sanders’ replacement.

Another major change is Denise Woods leaving View Park Prep to take the head coaching job at Southwest College. Woods, a former USC standout, had been head coach at VP for seven years and created a successful program.

Marty Verdugo stepped away from the winning Santa Monica High program just as many of his star players graduated last month.

After longtime Brea Olinda Coach Jeff Sink’s abrupt departure from the girls program to take over as boys coach, Villa Park coach Kim Cram took the helm. Word is that it was rough going for the team last month.

The axis in LA high school hoops is shifting. I’m just not sure yet to where it’s shifting.