April 24, 2014

Sentinel News Service


Bishop Montgomery’s Justin Bibbins has been maligned most of his basketball life.

He’s too short at 5’7 and too small at 150 pounds dripping wet to achieve an measure of success in a game where height is the most significant component.

However, after four years as starting point guard at Bishop Montgomery and a senior year as South Bay Player of the Year, John Wooden Player of the Year, All CIF-Southern Section Open Division First Team, there was one more statement to be made.

The Collision All-Star Game has created its share of basketball memories over the past 15 years. The 16th annual showcase at Redondo High School on Saturday was no different.

The girls game featured a St. Bernard reunion as DeMoria White and Chenelle Pelle teamed up with former teammates Michelle Curry (Culver City) and Cydney Bolton (Serra) to help power the Southern Section to 76-43 win.

It set the stage for the boys game a few hours later as Justin Bibbins helped the Southern Section to a 110-86 win that tied the overall series at 8-8. The Southern Section girls lead the series 13-3.

White had a game-high 18 points and Curry, named the game’s MVP, finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

“I missed playing with them so it meant a lot ending our season together,” Curry said.

“It feels like a reunion with the family I started with,” White said.

Serra’s Caila Hailey also was pleased to share sides with with not just Curry and her St. Bernard rivals but also her coach McKinsey Hadley, who coached the Southern Section girls.

“It was bittersweet in getting to play with my rivals, but it was also my last game,” Hailey said. “I still had a lot of fun.”

The City Section cut the lead to 24-20 late in the first half but the Southern Section responded with a 14-0 run that carried over into the second half. Tatiana Maimot’s layup made it 38-20.

White had a four-point play for an 18-point advantage, 43-25. The Southern Section’s size also proved tough as Bishop Montgomery’s Janelle Odionu led a frontcourt that featured players well over six feet.

With the City struggling for layups, it settled for jumpers and with Hadley calling for his team to run it soon grew tired trying to keep up with its CIF counterparts.

There was small consolation as Narbonne’s Jade Everage was named the Albert “Cap” Lavin Scholar Athlete of the Game for posting a 4.2 grade point average.

“To know you’re appreciated for all your hard work and not just playing basketball, it’s really special,” Everage said.

The Southern Section boys jumped out to 23-5 lead and never looked back as Bibbins standout had nine points and four assists during the run.

The Southern Section led 57-41 at halftime and looked like the more comfortable team throughout the game.

“Once we set the tone and got a big lead, we could just play our game,” the Bishop Montgomery standout said.

He was named the game’s most valuable player after finishing with 17 points and six assists.

Westchester’s Nick Hamilton, who’s never received less than an ‘A’ in high school, received the boys counterpart of the scholar athlete award.

“It feels good to be recognized not just for your play on the court but even more for academics,” Hamilton said.

Comets teammate Cameron Young led the team with 18 points and Elijah Stewart added 15. It was almost fitting Young would have such a big game, considering Westchester won its last game of the season at Redondo.

“I love playing here,” Young said. “I didn’t expect to play at Collision so I just came to play my best,”

Saturday also marked the last game at Redondo for Ian Fox and Terrell Carter. Fox gave the crowd one last look at his shooting touch with 14 points, including several three-pointers.

“It meant a lot winning my last game at my gym,” he said.

Redondo Beach native Thomas Welsh (Loyola) also relished the chance of playing his last prep game in front of family before moving on to UCLA. The McDonald’s All-American had 18 points and seven rebounds as his coach Jamal Adams watched from the bench.

“It was a lot of fun, especially finishing with coach Adams,” Welsh said.

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April 17, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


The only post-season high school basketball showcase that is divided along sectional lines will turn 16 on Saturday April 19 at Redondo High School and will again feature the best of the best.

McDonalds All American Thomas Welsh of Loyola and headed to UCLA will join a list of Collision alumni that includes NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Darren Collision, but his task will be to draw the Southern Section boys even with their City Section rivals at Collision XVI.

Welsh will be joined by arguably one of the most successful point guards in Southern section history in All CIF Open Division star Justin Bibbins of Bishop Montgomery who is Long Beach State bound. Ian Fox, Redondo Union; Terell Carter, Redondo Union; Bedhart Ghani, 6’4 Loyola; Brice Mency, 6’5 Chino Hills; Jack Williams, Chaminade  (Long Beach State), Namon Wright, 6’4 Pacific Hills (Missouri); Joey Covarubias, 6’2 Cantwell Sacredhart; Malik Marquetti, 6’6 Millikan  (USC); Brian Beard, 5’9 Orange H. S.; Kameron Murrell, 6’2 Long Beach Poly; and Jerome Bryant, 6’7 Cathedral round out the team.

The City boys, which led the rivalry 8 games to 7, will be led by City Player of the Year Elijah Stewart of Westchester and All City choice Julian Richardson of City champion El Camino Real. Ucheena Okeneme (Narbonne), Reverend Maduakor (Narbonne), Nick Hamilton (Westchester), Cameron Young (Westchester), Devenir Duruisseau (Sylmar), Brandon Crawford (Washington), Darnell Bettis (University) Quincy Thomas (San Pedro), Maleke Haynes (El Camino Real), Olisaemea Nwachie (Fairfax), Sage Woodruff  (Fairfax) and Deric Daniels Dorsey.

The Southern Section girls have dominated the City 12 games to 3, but two of the those three wins by the City have come in the last three years.

View Park’s Mareshah Farmer, who led the City in scoring with a 29 point per game scoring average, will lead a City girl’s team that features Narbonne’s Jade Everage Narbonne and Kayla Brady, Judith Espinoza of Eagle Rock, Irma Munoz of Garfield and LACES dynamo of Sara Mills- LACES and Liran Schahaf. Rounding out the team will be Jasmyne Davis and Brianna Wade of Washington Prep, Stephanie Perez of Torres, Lupe Cruz of Southeast, Palisades’ Kylie Bethel and Hayley Hutt-Palisades. Jessica Torres of Garfield will coach the Girls City team.

The Southern Girls roster could be the tallest in the history of the event touting at least five players 6’0 or taller, including St. Bernard’s 6’2 Chenelle Pelle, 6’0 Ella Stepanian of Crescenta Valley, Long Beach Poly’s Jada Matthews and Redondo Union’s 6’1 Tatiana Maimot.

That’s not all, the Serra’s coach McKinsey Hadley will also have the services of Serra stars Caila Haley (Washington State) and Cydney Bolton, Mira Costa’s dynamic All CIF selection Camille Mills and Lynwood’s Priscilla Lopez.

Collision is sponsored by Hank Salvatori, the Coffee Bean and product provided by Jordan Brand.

Etiwanda’s head coach Dave Kleckner will receive the Jim Harrick Life Time Achievement Award and Albert ‘Cap’ Lavin Scholar Athlete of the Year awards will be presented to the top girl and boy scholar during the game.

The event will begin with several outstanding AAU games starting at 11:30 a.m. and also the top 7th, 8th and underclass talent.

The girl’s senior game will tip at 5:30 p.m. the boy’s game will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and only available at the door.

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April 10, 2014

LAWT Wire Services


Massey died in his sleep early Tuesday morning at age 65.

Legendary former Jordan basketball coach and athletic director Ron Massey died in his sleep early Tuesday morning. He was 65.

The official cause of death is yet to be determined, but doctors told family members it was most likely from natural causes.

Massey has been a staple in the Long Beach athletic community for more than three decades. He coached and taught at Jordan from 1981 to 2010, serving as a physical education teacher and athletic director as well as basketball coach.

In January, Jordan renamed its basketball court “Ron Massey Court” in his honor.

“He was much more than a basketball coach,” Mario Jimenez, a former assistant for Massey and now principal at Lakewood High, said before the court dedication. “I saw him transform some wayward boys into young men. He seemed to have this aura about him, this patience. He just knew how to connect with some of the toughest kids from the neighborhood.”

Massey led the Panthers to three CIF titles, in 1991, 1992 and 1996. He also led Jordan to seven Moore League championships and won 503 games in his career. But on the plaque at his court dedication, he is first listed as a teacher.

Massey is survived by his wife, Shirley, his three sons, Ronald Jr., Anthony and Damien, and three grandchildren, Zach, Sierra and Jordan.

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April 17, 2014


Associated Press


A Jamaican disciplinary panel on Thursday April 10, banned former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell from athletics for 18 months after the veteran sprinter tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. In the sprinting powerhouse’s capital of Kingston, the head of the three-member panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commis­sion said its decision was unanimous after examining the “voluminous nature of the evidence.”

“In all the circumstances, Mr. Powell was found to be negligent, and he was at fault,” said commission chairman Lennox Gayle, adding the panel would issue a written statement explaining its decision in about a month.

Powell’s backdated ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21, 2013 during national trials for the world championships. That means he’s eligible to return to competition on Dec. 20, about a month after he turns 32.

Once the top sprinter on the track, Powell lowered the world record in the 100 to 9.77 in 2005, then 9.74 in 2008 before being eclipsed by countryman Usain Bolt. Powell was the Jamaican athlete who first put Jamaica’s dominating athletics prowess on center stage in the 21st century. But unlike Bolt, he could never win the big one.

The 31-year-old sprinter tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica’s national trials last June. He'd been suspended from competition since his doping case was disclosed in July.

Powell did not attend the Thursday session, but he issued a statement through his publicist saying his defense team will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He described the ruling as “not only unfair, it is patently unjust.”

Like former teammate Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist who tested positive for the same stimulant at the national trials in June, Powell placed the blame on a newly-hired trainer who provided the two athletes with supplements, including one called “Epiphany D1” which lab tests later showed to contain oxilofrone.

“I have never knowingly taken any banned substances, I did all the necessary checks before taking Epiphany D1 and it is my hope that the CAS will prove to be a more open and fair avenue for the review of all the facts in my case,” Powell said in his Thursday statement.

During hearings earlier this year, Powell testified that he received nine supplements from Canadian physiotherapist Christopher Xuereb, including Epiphany D1. Powell said he started taking the capsules in early June after he and a friend researched the supplement for up to six hours online and found no prohibited substances.

But Xuereb has said he never gave Powell or Simpson any performance-enhancing drugs and only purchased major brand vitamins. In July, he asserted to The Associated Press that both athletes were looking for a scapegoat. Xuereb once worked at the Toronto clinic run by Anthony Galea, a sports physician who pleaded guilty to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs into the U.S. for house calls.

On the morning of the Jamaican trials, Powell said he took four capsules of Epiphany D1 at Xuereb's suggestion after previously taking two each morning. Powell ended up finishing in seventh place and failed to qualify for the world championships.

The sprinter, who turned professional in 2002, raised eyebrows during his testimony in January when he said he wasn’t acquainted with doping control rules. He also testified that he did not tell a doping control officer about all the new supplements he’d been ingesting, only listing three on his declaration form, because he couldn’t remember their names amid the excitement of the Jamaican trials.

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April 10, 2014

Associated Press


ARLINGTON, Texas — It’s not that Kevin Ollie looked uncomfortable sitting on a stool in front of the Connecticut bench. It’s just that he looked a lot more comfortable in a defensive stance exhorting the Huskies in the national championship game.

That’s how he spent the majority of the biggest game of his short college coaching career Monday night, a 60-54 victory over Kentucky. Right on the sideline. In some plays he looked like a sixth Connecticut defender, just wearing a suit and tie.

From 1991-95, he wore a UConn uniform as a standout defender. Then it was off to the NBA for a long career as a role player before he returned to UConn for two years as an assistant. Jim Calhoun hand-picked him as his successor.

Maybe Ollie will start a new trend in college basketball: a longtime NBA player taking over a program. He was in the NBA for 12 seasons changing teams 12 times. Never a star but always wanted. His best scoring season was 8.0 points per game with Seattle in 2002-03.

Players who average 3.8 points per game over 12 seasons usually spend a lot of time on the bench. Ollie did.

“You know what he was doing while he was playing?” Kentucky coach John Calipari asked Sunday. “He was coaching. That’s how he played. He was an unbelievable student of the game.”

Seems he learned pretty well.

In only his second season as head coach he won it all. Steve Fisher is the only coach to win the title in his first season, with Michigan as an interim coach in 1989.

Technically, Ollie did it in his first chance. The Huskies were ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 over academic issues before he or these players got to Storrs. The players could have transferred. They stayed and won the school’s fourth national championship as a No. 7 seed after finishing tied for third in the American Athletic Conference and entering the tournament with a 26-8 record.

“I told you, a lot of people was picking against us and doubting us, but I told you the last would be the first,” Ollie said. “We are first now. Last year we were last. We couldn’t get in the tournament, but they kept believing. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ollie is far from low key on the sideline, but he seems to be mostly positive in a sport where many have complained that coaches have become too negative.

“Be ready. Please be ready,” he yelled toward Phillip Nolan when a bounce pass went through his hands.

“You got to pass,” he yelled at DeAndre Daniels.

“You have to get on the floor,” he yelled at Nolan and Neils Giffey when they came off the court after failing to get a loose ball.

He uses broad gestures to get his point across.

He walked toward Lasan Kromah after he failed to box out and it resulted in a dunk and 3-point play for Kentucky with 3:47 to play. He didn’t say a word. He had his arms extended, the universal signal for “What?” Kromah had no answer as he walked by and Ollie gave him a pat as he walked by.

But there were times he sounded like the coaches who are known for their yelling.

“We have to get those 50-50 balls,” he screamed toward his assistants who were a few feet below him and the raised court.

His best yelling came at the end of the game.

With 5 seconds left and the Huskies up by six, Ollie extended his arms in the air. He turned toward the crowd and let out a scream.

He exchanged a quick hug with Calipari, shook hands with the Kentucky assistants and players. Then turned toward the court and started celebrating with his players and staff.

“I liked it when he was yelling at Phillip,” Calhoun said with a big laugh as he stood on a court filled with confetti and streamers. “Seriously, what Kevin does is get the kids to believe and you want to do as a coach is to get the kids to believe in you believing in them.”

Daniels said Ollie is “like one of us. He’s like one of our teammates. He’s always joking around and playing around with us every day in practice, and I mean he just cares for everybody in this locker room and loves each and every one, and everybody loves him on this team. It’s just amazing to have him as a coach. He’s just phenomenal.”

Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel was walking along by himself about 20 minutes after the game.

He was asked if Ollie could start a trend of longtime NBA players becoming college coaches as happened earlier Monday when Florida Atlantic hired Michael Curry.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I do know I have a great one. If he leads a path of others doing it that would be great but right now we have him.”

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