Speaker 1 00:00:10 Hello, everybody. Welcome to the SB live California podcast. I'm your host Connor morrisette. I'm in long beach at St. Anthony high school with first year, while now transition second year head coach on our right in the middle. Alan Mitchell, the boys basketball coach. Alan, I've been wanting to sit down and talk with you for a long time. Thank you so much for being with me. How are things going
Speaker 2 00:00:28 With you? Thank you. Um, things are good. Things are good, man. I'm super thankful. I'm blessed. And I love where I'm at. I love where I'm at right now.
Speaker 1 00:00:37 What was year one as a head coach? Like for you, take that anyway. You want to go with it.
Speaker 2 00:00:42 <laugh> exciting. It was never a down moment, rather it was on the quarter off the court. Um, but it was really a tremendous, a tremendous blessing man, tremendous blessing. Just the opportunities that were presented along the way, being able to lead a, a locker room full of young men that, that heated leadership and things like that. Um, then the success that we did have, um, it may have shocked a lot of people, it didn't shock us. We actually had, uh, bigger goals and, and we were pretty close to achieving those, but it was, um, it was exciting. Year one was great.
Speaker 1 00:01:18 Is there a single moment that you look back on and think this was the best moment from this season?
Speaker 2 00:01:25 Ah, man, I don't know. We, we had, we had some moments this year, man, and just with the things that we discussed in our locker room and to be able to achieve them or just to have that moment to, to achieve them and, and then either achieve 'em or fall short, it was it just so much in that it was just a, a huge learning process this year. You know what I mean for everybody? Um, our favorite moment,
Speaker 1 00:01:58 I can maybe help you. I, I was at a couple of them. Uh, <laugh> the, how about that state preview classic a and that was great. And then in the playoffs, I wasn't at the gym, but the, the game against colony that has to be up there just because I think most people would say colony was the better seed. They probably on paper for sure had the better chance to win, but they came in your gym and you guys just didn't miss a shot that night. Right,
Speaker 2 00:02:19 Man, I wish we had a lot more nice like that <laugh> but, uh, um, preview was definitely a moment for us. Um, it was some, some under underlying ties to that game for us. And, uh, it meant a lot to everybody in our locker room. Um, and I'm sure it meant a lot to them as well. And,
Speaker 1 00:02:38 And that was capital valley Christian,
Speaker 2 00:02:39 Correct? Um, that was a great moment. Uh, colony was great. We played Bishop Montgomery here, um, during league and that was another great night that, that game and J just what our league presented in itself was something crazy. But to be able to pull out that kind of game, fight back, scratching claw, and then win, um, it showed our team what we, what we could be, you know what I mean? And the colony game was probably one of the games where we played close to 32 minutes, just executing the game, playing and Lucas, grace shot the <laugh>. He shot the laces off the basketball night. Yes, he
Speaker 1 00:03:18 Did. Toughest moment. I'm sure has to do with losing some games, but you guys also dealt with a pretty tough COVID shutdown, right?
Speaker 2 00:03:25 Yeah. Uh, during, uh, Christmas time, I would say we were getting ready for the Damian classic. We just played Harvard Westlake on TV. Um, we kind of felt like we let that one slip away as well. And, but we also of felt like we were finally getting in a groove. Right. And I think, uh, we played them Saturday that Tuesday we got shut down with COVID and it was just a couple lower level kids at first. And then as the days went by just started just the numbers. The numbers were just rising pretty much like you see on TV <affirmative> we got shut down for, I think almost three weeks and it kind of sucked, you know what I mean? Especially just being in that groove and then missing the opportunity to be a part of, uh, the Damien classic, which was great, but also went through their ups and downs. I think they had like 43 teams drop out or something. Um, yeah, that COVID shutdown was, that was tough, dude.
Speaker 1 00:04:21 Yeah, it was weird. It seemed like every Delray league team dealt with it for a couple weeks. I know Bishop Montgomery had the shutdown and St. Bernard had shut down. You guys, what was so great was even though the games were off scheduled, they got played at the end and for sure, presented some really awesome games to cover. And, and that league, there was never a du moment. I remember at the beginning though, I into Bishop Montgomery, Sarah, and both teams were coming off a pause and <laugh>, it was a little sloppy. But once you guys got going, that was some really amazing basketball. Yeah. Uh, let's go back to before you were name, head coach here, Alan, your players, since you were an assistant, they pushed for you to get the job and the administration listened and you ended up getting the job. What did that mean to you? That the coaches, the players that you coached said, we want this guy to be the coach. I'm sure that meant a lot.
Speaker 2 00:05:06 Um, it was, it was encouraging. It means a lot just from the type of person I consider myself to be. And, and knowing the type of young men they are. I think they, uh, were a bit hurt by the, just the, the things that transpired. And the majority of my, my locker room is, uh, they need the leadership, especially coming from a man and to have a familiar face would've made the transition easier. And I think it did to an extent, instead of coming in and having to see a new guy and learn his ways and, and, and have to learn how he is as a person and vice versa. Um, it meant a lot, man, <affirmative> that interviewing process was no joke, <laugh> it? Wasn't no joke just because of the, the type of program in school that this is. And as prestigious as it is, um, I had three interviews and they were all over hour and 15 minutes, I believe. And, um, I had to work hard for it. It wasn't given for sure. They definitely made me work. They didn't treat me any special way or anything, but I, I just prepared and just like I do for the games I prepared and did my best to execute.
Speaker 1 00:06:12 I'm sure. Looking back, the administrators here, happy with that choice, especially after year one, we'll get into a little bit more of this, uh, past year in a second, but I want to get into your history. So you played at king drew and you told me yes, sir. Before we started recording, you were talking about your playing days last night. What were some of your favorite memories from playing king
Speaker 2 00:06:29 Drew? Man, I played for Chris Francis. Who's the head coach at long beach Jordan. Um, never du moment with coach Chris man, never old moment. He he's, he's very energetic and lively now, but just imagine him what, 14, 15 years ago at a younger age and, and even more energetic and he's out there and practices playing with us and, and competing. You know what I mean? But it was amazing, man. I had some great teammates. Uh, some of my teammates are they've become my brothers. Um, like I said, we were just talking last night, just randomly about it. Um, I played with Aaron Hill who was our best score. He's probably the leading score in the king drew history. It's either him or probably Caleb. Now I know Caleb had a heck of a senior year. Um, but man, I just, we play with some great guys. We, we competed, we, we, we shocked a lot of people. We had tough games with Westchester and we beat some, some tough teams as well. Um, but it was exciting, man. And then to move into the Marine league, our senior year, they called us magnet babies and didn't expect us to win. They predict us to go, oh, and 12, they kind of hurt to, to see that. And just to think that even after the success we had that they still felt that way. But we end up sweeping the Marine league that year.
Speaker 1 00:07:46 Wow. So was that Nabo and San Pedros
Speaker 2 00:07:50 Nabo? San Pedro Carson garden, Washington.
Speaker 1 00:07:54 All right. What was it? Were you guys division one, two? What was it like back then? There was no open.
Speaker 2 00:07:59 Yeah, no. So back then it was, uh, it was city. You had city and then you had city invitational. Okay. So it was only those two. So I think, uh, I wanna say 32 teams would make the playoffs 16 for city 16 for invitational freshman year, we won, invitational, played LA Jordan. <affirmative> at the sports arena. And the year before that they coach Chris and those guys, Marvin mills and Terrell burns and all those guys, they won as well the year before. So he was back to back. So that was, that was pretty fun.
Speaker 1 00:08:34 And you got to taste that your freshman year you were on that team?
Speaker 2 00:08:36 Yeah. So my freshman year I was still playing football cause I was, was 13. Okay. So I was playing pop Warner still <laugh> um, I was playing basketball as well at, at king drew. And, um, it was some stuff with the administration at ad. Uh, yeah, it was weird, but so I played freshman JV and varsity that year <laugh> um, so yeah, I got to experience all of
Speaker 1 00:08:59 <laugh>. How did that work? I gotta ask <laugh>. So was the playoffs, was it just varsity cuz the other ones were stopped, but did you, did you ever play all three games?
Speaker 2 00:09:09 Not so I played no, no I did. I only, the only games I did play was fresh freshman V bunch of crazy varsity practices. Okay. I didn't turn 14 until after the season started. So I was a 14 year old in there with, at the time they felt like grown men. Yeah <laugh> and we had, uh, Daniel Stewart was six, nine, Gerald Phyllis was pushing 10, 6, 11, and Jamal, all Thomas, Marvin mills who was getting recruited by Stanford. Then you go with Blake Beson and Aaron who were my freshman, uh, class. And I play with them for all three years or after that, um, Marcus Rogers, who was a tremendous guy, he actually hit a in there like a half court buzzard beater. Um, was it verse Eagle rock? Yeah. It was verse Eagle rock to get to the semis. So it was tough practices, man. Tough practices. And coach Chris would just point out the small stuff that I would do. Like I'll get a rebound face up and he'll stop practicing and yell about that. Or I'll, I'll get in the paint, jump, stop shop fake. And, and I'm like, dude, like, so I'm succeeding in practice. Like, are you gonna play me? Like I would have these thoughts in my head, but it never transpired. But just to get those reps as a, as a freshman and in the playoff time and actually compete out there, it was great.
Speaker 1 00:10:31 It's funny that you still remember that and now you're a head coach. Do you look back on your playing career and think like, does that help you as a head coach?
Speaker 2 00:10:40 For sure. For sure. It does man. It's either it'll help me relate to a player if they have my same path or whatever it may be. And then you just think about all the, the years that you've played, you think about the experiences, the moments you think about that you ran that worked, you know what I mean? And things like that. So it's definitely helpful. I know all players, all former players, aren't great coaches <laugh> so I, hopefully I can be a great player and a great coach.
Speaker 1 00:11:11 That is a good point. But so far I'd say you're one for one in terms of, uh, years coached and uh, just being a head coach. How'd you do your senior year at king. Do you remember, uh, much from that season swept the Marine league?
Speaker 2 00:11:24 Yeah, we swept the Marine league. Uh, we were the first team from California at the time to go to Louisiana down south. We played, um, in lake Charles, which is where coach Chris is from. We played Barb high school. We went three and one down there. That was a, um, crazy experience just being down south. And we experienced a lot of things down there. <laugh> um, what was crazy was the non the no shot clock? Oh
Speaker 1 00:11:51 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:11:52 We walk in the gym first day of the tournament. It was 24, 28. We like dude, they running behind like an hour <laugh> then we kind of observed the game a bit more and it was the fourth quarter with three minutes left and it was just like, so when we got on the floor and, and they saw how fast we played and things like that, it was, we were kind of like the cream of the crop. So the gym was pretty filled. And then you get to play the host team a couple days later, uh, we finished that trip. We lose to bar, we go three and one, we come back two days later, we play the Linwood tournament, which used to be pretty big back in the day. And we end up winning that tournament. And that was the first tournament that king drew had ever won in the history at the time. I'm not sure what they did after. Um, we had our, then we started league, we ran through league pretty much a couple of those games were tough, but we ran through league, made all league. We got ready for playoff <affirmative> and we had a let down against Palisades at home,
Speaker 1 00:12:58 Not the dolphins.
Speaker 2 00:13:00 Yeah, the dolphins. We lost about two to Palisades at home. But, um, the year before we lost the Westchester, I think the quarters or the semis and the LA times predicted us to be a lot better surprise team our senior year, which we were, I'll never forget the headline. It said king drew was like bees on honey <laugh> um, and Westchester was just a lot more talented, so they of course defeated us. But yeah, to, to lose that game, man was tough, but we would've played DJ gay at sun Holly. We would've probably won that game cuz we, we had beat him earlier in the season and then we would've ended up playing either Fairfax or Westchester, whoever I won that. So
Speaker 1 00:13:48 Funny to look back on that. Sorry, I didn't go your way against Palisades, but it sounds like you have a lot of other, uh, great memories. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:13:55 We got great memories. Great memories. Great memories.
Speaker 1 00:13:58 Do you have a relationship with Lloyd Webster, the current king drew coach? Are you close with him at all or not really?
Speaker 2 00:14:02 Uh, I don't wanna say necessarily that we're close. I I'm familiar with him. We do chop it up when we do see each other and things like that. Uh, but he he's done a heck of a job there, man. They, they won a championship but three years ago I think so. I wanna say it was three years ago. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:14:18 Three or four.
Speaker 2 00:14:19 And then to just get back there and compete this year and get in the open division and do his thing. And he's, he's got a lot of guys in there that were pretty good to keep the program going. So I think he has a good group of guys returning back to be successful. Again.
Speaker 1 00:14:35 I agree a lot of good freshman too. I'm excited to see what they look like. So after king drew, you go to LA Southwest college, you played for Reggie Moore, senior. What were those days like
Speaker 2 00:14:46 <laugh> Juco in itself is an experience man. But to, I wasn't fully aware of who coach Reggie was at the time coach Morris was a, he was a legend and I didn't know it when I decided to go to the Juco route. I had committed to UC Riverside during my senior year. And then, uh, they fired the coach, I think before play. I officer, I didn't know when the coach gets fired, your scholarship could probably go with it. So that's what happened. But, um, coach Grogan, who was the associate head coach at the time he showed up to every single thing, showed up to every single thing, recruited me hard. And uh, they wanted me and I went playing for coach Morris was great. Um, I actually played quite a bit my freshman year, which was a shot. We had nine sophomores. So you pretty much look at that as a senior heavy team type thing at any other level.
Speaker 2 00:15:45 Um, Roy Walker, Chris Smith, you list Thomas, like we were loaded, man. Chermaine Tremaine Johnson played at Artesia with James harden and LeBron Griffin was, we were, we were stacked and, and practices were, were very tough. Um, DJ Turner, Dimitrius Turner. He actually went to king drew. He's known for his 59 point game at, at king drew. And, uh, we were loaded, dude. We were loaded and practices were, were tough just because of the, the competitive edge, but also the way coach Moore's practiced. Like you gonna get, you gonna be perfect. You gonna give him what he wants and you gonna practice until we get it, get it right. So it was, it was great.
Speaker 1 00:16:30 Did you watch, uh, last chance you with the ELAC basketball?
Speaker 2 00:16:34 Yep. I sure did.
Speaker 1 00:16:36 Do you enjoy that season as a Juco guy yourself?
Speaker 2 00:16:39 For sure. For sure, man. It brings back memories. Um, one thing that Juco grind do is just make you appreciate the, the process and appreciate the journey, man. And you gotta really want it. If you go to Juco whole route, you gotta, you gotta really want it because things are tough and you, you really never know what's gonna happen. You know what I mean, guys, quit guys leave and they have their own process and journey. Some of your teammates could mess around and be 24 years old. And it, it is crazy. So it was wild man, but I, I loved it, man. Last chance you Eli and coach Mosley was amazing. I really wish they could have finished that season. Yeah, I really wish they could have, but it was great.
Speaker 1 00:17:21 So I'm sure you consider Reggie Morris, a mentor who are some of your other coaching mentors
Speaker 2 00:17:28 For sure. Coach Morris, just being under him for, uh, two years. Um, his son as well, helped me out quite a bit. Coach Chris for sure. Um, I look at him as a big brother and uh, we may not have been the, the best when we were, when I was playing under him. You know what I mean, a teenager and going in through that journey, but we become super tight afterwards. Coach Rebo has kind of helped me out a lot, um, from Harvard Westlake, um, coach Steve Moore at paramount. I, I have a few guys that, that pretty much helped me out, man. And I I'm super thankful, uh, coach Jack Murphy at Arizona gave me a couple pointers and some texts just here and there. Russell Payne, who was at west Torrance as a head coach and assistant at Harvard Westlake and then according and my staff to Kevin Payne, Mike Winfield, uh, Chris Spencer, who just got the job at Cabrillo, shout out to coach Spencer, man on getting that job. Um, so yeah, man, I, I, I have a, a good group of people around me that I, I, I trust and, and I know it's a few that I can just text and call and they'll be honest with me, you know what I mean? And coach Morris Jr. Was honest with me at about the burners game at St. Bernard's and he was like, yeah, your tech probably heard him too. Yeah, I got a tech man. Um, but yeah, <laugh> shout out to my mentors though. Got my, my, my circle. I'm super thankful for,
Speaker 1 00:18:58 Does that eat at you at all the, the technical file or
Speaker 2 00:19:01 Did you learn from it 20 extent?
Speaker 1 00:19:03 Well, what happened? Break, break it down.
Speaker 2 00:19:04 Um, Elijah price gets the ball. We get, he, he pretty much was making his presence felt in that game with burner's lack of size. Um, he gets the ball down in the paint and he gets, uh, gets raped across the arm. You can hear it in the loud gym, no foul. They go down, Jayden Bush reaches gets the steel, takes two dribbles and they call a foul. And I was like, that's the call? That just happened under the basket. Of course I'm a little louder than that. Right. <laugh> said, it's the same call underneath the basket. And he looks at me and I was like, man, that's the same call. And I turn and walk away. And I like had my towel and I like swung my towel down.
Speaker 1 00:19:47 And that was it.
Speaker 2 00:19:48 And then all I heard was the whistle blow. Like, and I'm like, I'm walking away and he gave me the text. So, and we lost that game by two points. I think it was yeah, like 58, 56 or something like that.
Speaker 1 00:20:00 Uh, sometimes I've been to a million games. You see some funny decisions from the, from the referees that's for sure. I'll leave it at that. <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:20:08 Yeah. I, I shouldn't have put us in that position now. You know what I mean? Uh, that was my, my only tech of the year. I think
Speaker 1 00:20:15 That's tough to say though, because if it is a blown call and like it's one thing to lose it and okay. I deserve it. But when they do blow a call, you don't feel like you lose it. I mean, you're saying the right thing, but I don't in your heart of hearts, maybe you feel differently. I won't never
Speaker 2 00:20:31 Know.
Speaker 1 00:20:33 It's
Speaker 2 00:20:33 Tough. The res do a great job though, man, outside of being the head coaches and just coaching the game, they're for sure the, where the spotlight is, you know what I mean? They, they, they get it from the fans, the benches, the players. And so it is, uh, well, we're thankful for em, cause they also don't have to do it. So
Speaker 1 00:20:51 Everyone who it's mad at officials would never wanna be an official
Speaker 2 00:20:54 At all. It's the toughest job at all. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:20:57 No. Who, I don't know who, who would wanna do that, but the, the top level guys do it for the most part, do it really, really extra for job. Um, so let's get into your coaching career. So started at king drew a, were you head coach or an assistant At king drew?
Speaker 2 00:21:12 I was the JV head coach JV head coach, varsity assistant head.
Speaker 1 00:21:16 Okay. And then assistant coach at LA Southwest. Yep. Spelled for three years at Redondo before two years here at St. Anthony. Well, just throw all the years of being an assistant coach into one question. Were some of your favorite memories from those days?
Speaker 2 00:21:30 My favorite memories at king drew were, um, I was still chasing my hoop dream. Mm-hmm <affirmative> was getting ready to go overseas and got hurt. I tore my tore, my knee up pretty bad whole reconstructive knee surgery. So I was coaching my first year on crutches <laugh> and in, uh, near the back end of the season, I got healthy and I started playing with my kids and I used to dunk on them and everything. Like I'll just take my frustrations out on them. But my first year of coaching, I kind of was coaching like a player still, if that makes sense. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> like I expected my kids to do everything like me, but because I was so young, I related to them extremely well. Um, one of my best relationships are with that group of kids to this day. I think that was 2011 when I started coaching and I still talk to about five or six of them literally like right now.
Speaker 2 00:22:26 Um, those are my little brothers, so eight moments with them, um, go to Southwest that coaching at Southwest was tough because I was the same age as most of the players or older and maybe a couple younger. And I didn't really enjoy that experience too much just from a personal standpoint because I, I felt like people were just in a way a blessing, you know what I mean? Like it's an opportunity when anybody gets you on their roster and, and things like that. But I learned a lot as a coach then I got to Redondo and those years were great with, uh, coach Parvos. Who's also a mentor for me too. Um, we had some great times at Redondo road trips and things like that. And, and then, uh, I was, I started coaching AAU that year, my first year at Redondo. So yeah, I got some, I got some memories, man, beating peninsula, beating PV, beating merit Costa and, and, uh, throwing water all over the place after clenching a bay league championship and things like that. And yeah, it was pretty fun.
Speaker 1 00:23:35 Tell me about your role with Los Angeles lead coaching, AAU
Speaker 2 00:23:40 Russell and, uh, Russell Payne was the president. We were coaching at Redondo together and every day I walk in, he was like, man, when can, when you gonna join, like hop ship. And I'm like, I'm not, <laugh> like, I'm just not, I was coaching with west coast elite at the time. Um, I was coaching like, uh, 14 U and then at that time I had, uh, 15 U or I, I had J Don Jones for a minute, Malik Thomas and, uh, Lamont Butler and those guys and a few others. And then he just kept asking me every single day <laugh> and I'm like, I'm not like I'm just not coming over. End up hopping over man after about three years. And, uh, he brought me in as a, as their four team U coach, which was their one of the top teams as far as middle school. And it was great ended up being a program director for about a year or two before the pandemic hit. Um, and now I'm the 17 U premier coach. I coached their top 17 U team
Speaker 1 00:24:41 Who's on that team.
Speaker 2 00:24:43 Corey Stanbury Stansberry. He just is, uh, committed to Pepperdine actually. So he's not gonna be on the team. Um, I have George tope St. Francis, Dylan Benner. Who's a 10th grader on our top 17 U team. And Dylan is, uh, his upside is, is crazy, man. He's about 6, 7, 6, 8. He can shoot the piss out of the bass. He's tough. He's very smart. Um,
Speaker 1 00:25:09 Where does he
Speaker 2 00:25:10 Go? He goes to St. Bon. He plays for Wolf game. Oh, okay. Wolfgang wood. Yeah, he's a, he's pretty good, dude. He's pretty good. And he's gonna be, he's gonna be very good. He's very coachable. Um, I have Isaiah Johnson, Jay Mo. Heer from San Gabriel academy, DJ Harrington from V I wanna say it's valley Christian and Cerritos. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah, so we're pretty, we're pretty solid team. We're we're a pretty solid team. I have a for AAU, I think we have the group that is actually a team instead of just a bunch of superstars and things like that. So it's fun. We we're just getting started, man. We're just getting started.
Speaker 1 00:25:47 Awesome. Well, I'll be excited to see on Twitter, how you guys do down the line. That'll, it's always fun to see how the kids I cover in high school and the coaches I cover in high school do on the other side of things, let's get back into this past season for you. We all know how stacked the Del Ray league was with Montgomery and Bernard and Sarah would always give really tough games. How stressful the at the same time fun was it to coach in that league this year?
Speaker 2 00:26:11 I don't think it was stressful, man. I just knew, especially from my prior years as an assistant, I already knew what the league presented. Um, just so just to slide over six to eight inches more and be that being that first chair, it, it just, it made everything exciting. You know what I mean? I knew how important every league game was because league was our league is so tough with Bishop Montgomery and burners and Sarah and so on. But I think the most trying time for our group it was make or break. We lost three straight league games by combined five points. Right. And then you getting closer to playoffs and it was tough, man. It was tough. Like you, you are right there. And first game you lose by one point, right? And it's like, ah, uh, you, you look at film and you see the things you did wrong.
Speaker 2 00:27:06 Next game, you play in two more days and you lose by two. And it's like, oh, here we go again. <laugh> then you get that third game. And it's like, oh my goodness. But as a head coach, like you, you can't show that, you know what I mean? You can't show it <affirmative>, you can't let the locker room feel that way. Even though you know, it, everybody it's human nature. You just went through the same experience, three straight times. It's closer to playoffs than you. Um, we didn't really know what was going on at the time. As far as playoff seating, then season wraps up and you get to eat. Well, we actually got a phone call from my ad, like eight, 15 in the morning. Like, you guys gotta do a coin flip to play Sarah, or for who gets third place. Like I wanna play, I wanna flip a coin.
Speaker 2 00:27:56 So we ended up figuring that stuff out, which was pretty crazy. They wanted it to be a, uh, they wanted it to be a neutral site. Uh, uh, then they picked Lou, ER, and Luer wouldn't allow us to have fans because we were out of the district. So I just said we can play a Sarah. Like, I mean, the heck with is playoff basketball already. And I think that's when things really started clicking again for our group. Um, we fought early, Sarah made a tremendous run. They always, it's always hard to play there, man, at, at that gym. And then coach, McCroy got those guys rolling. And we, we had a crazy fourth quarter, uh, the last, like two minutes of the third until the fourth quarter was the style of basketball. We've been trying to play all year. So to see it happen at that time. Amazing. It felt super good to
Speaker 1 00:28:51 That. That, and that that's fascinating too, because I feel like if you couldn't get it at the neutral site, a lot of coaches would be like, all right, let's just flip the coin. Yeah. And at that point in the year, maybe some coaches would say, oh, my guys need the rest going into the playoffs. But for you, you played. And it's what you just said, turned a corner. So <laugh>, it was that game was huge.
Speaker 2 00:29:11 Losing three games like that one we lost to Sarah by one earlier that week, I believe lost to Bishop by two and burners by two. So it's like, we need to play, you know what I mean? We can't wait till the playoff brackets come out and all that and no we needed to play. So that, I think that was a, a, um, well, clearly now I can say that was the great decision. So
Speaker 1 00:29:38 <laugh> well, it's just awesome too, that the two coaches agreed cuz how many times in high school sports do you hear? I wanna flip the coin. Will I wanna play well, the rule for sure. You know what I mean for so that I, I gained a lot of respect for both you guys doing that. That, that
Speaker 2 00:29:50 Was awesome, man. Shout out to coach Bernard. Yeah. He's been great for me as well, man. He really has. And that's uh, that's pretty, I wanna say that's rare when a, a conference or league mm-hmm <affirmative> coach is so welcoming and helpful, you know what I mean? And he's definitely been that for real.
Speaker 1 00:30:08 That's awesome to hear. And I'm excited to see your guys' games the next few years. They're always gonna be so great. I gotta bring up St. Bernard, so, oh, and two in the league and then you lose the heartbreaker here. Two pointer in the playoffs. <affirmative> that obviously was tough for you, but what did you learn playing St. Bernard this year?
Speaker 2 00:30:27 Sometimes, man, it's just the grit. Sometimes it's just about the grit and how bad you wanted. And clearly three games. They had the grit, um, they, they were tougher <affirmative> and they just wanted it a bit more. You know what I mean? Or I don't, I don't even, I don't wanna say they wanted it more, but just things broke their way. Um, and, and they had three dogs, they had three with, uh, Jason Hart with, uh, Tyler and, and Darius and man, and it, it, it was hard, man. It was really, it was fun to play those guys, but it was difficult cuz most teams have two guys, you know what I mean? And they had three, they had three and then they had a bunch of glue guys around them and it, it just, it fit perfectly for them and it, and it worked out for 'em, but it was super fun to play them three times, man. Super fun.
Speaker 1 00:31:25 Tell me about your relationship with Jane Bush. He credits you with the drastic jump he's made in his game. And I don't, I don't wanna say drastic jump that that came out around cuz I thought he was pretty good before even mm-hmm <affirmative> even this year, but he clearly did make a jump and now he's signed a Dominican and division two, but it seems like you guys have a really relationship. Can you fill me in about that?
Speaker 2 00:31:45 No, we, we do have a, um, incredible relationship man. And what's ironic is he's just, he's my point guard. Right? When I first came in here a few years ago, um, I just jumped right in. I just coached, I didn't like kind of warm up to anything. Like if I saw a mistake or something, I addressed it, maybe not have been in the best tone, but I addressed it. And at first he was kind of shaky on just responding to me that way. And then J Don and I had a talk because I already knew J Don at the time. And he kind of just told me to lighten up a little bit. And he was like, like I know you, you know what I mean? So he's used to it, but he being in the locker room, he knew guys were a little shaky on it a little bit.
Speaker 2 00:32:33 And so I listened and I think that's a, a blessing, a gift that I have and being able to just listen to guys that are younger to me, uh, younger than me and he, uh, Jayden would just, he would listen to me man throughout the years leading up to now. And he was one of the guys that really pushed for me to get the job and wanted me to get it. I didn't wanna let 'em down, that's it. I didn't want to be, um, I didn't want to be a bad part of his high school career. Simple as that. I didn't want to be a guy that, that had an opportunity to be here for him and, and leave. And I, I told him I would give him everything I had and I promised him and we made a promise to each other, which was crazy. It was just random. We said at the same time, like I'm gonna get you of a championship. We just set it. And we were pretty damn close to getting it. JB went through a tough summer. Um, and I won't really say what he went through, but he went through a tough summer for his family and he had to be super mature and, and it made him grow up a lot faster than he probably should have as a high school kid. But he embraced it. He became a better leader. 10th grade, ninth grade, 10th grade people would go under screens. They'll kind of guard him like they used to guard Rondo
Speaker 1 00:33:52 <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:33:53 It's it is funny, but I'm, I'm serious.
Speaker 1 00:33:56 Sorry, I don't mean to laugh. I just know exactly.
Speaker 2 00:33:58 No like you, you live really look at the film and you like, dude, like they really guard him like that. And for him as a competitor, it's he took you like super disrespectful, right? And like, if you feel it's disrespectful, like you gotta go put in the reps, you know what I mean? It's certain other, it's other things you can do with this space. And I was telling him for three years, like, dude, just get a midrange jumper. And he was like midrange at first. Right. Then you get up to his senior year and to kind of give you foundation on that, that drastic jump. The drastic jump for him was just his offensive game, but he's the type of kid four 30 he's in here, 4 30, 5 O' in the morning before school sometimes. And before the season started, it was probably four or five days a week, but he's putting in those reps and, and it ended up paying off.
Speaker 2 00:34:50 Um, I kind of just gave him the keys to the vehicle and I trusted him. I like you trust me. I trust you. Let's be honest with each other. And we, we had a lot of honest moments rather we wanted to it or not, but, um, he's amazing, man. The kid is going to be whatever he wants to be his a, what is it? Marine biology teacher tells me all the time. Like he's like, man, he had a great presentation today. Like that kid can be whatever he wants and I'm not talking about basketball, but that's the truth, whatever he says, whatever he writes down is gonna happen.
Speaker 1 00:35:26 You mentioned the grind and the grit associated with playing St. Bernard in, in that playoff game, you guys had the good first quarter. And then in the second and third quarter, they kind of separated a little bit mm-hmm <affirmative> but it was Jayden Bush with the threes and just, he kind of willed you back into that game. And so when you describe grind and grit, I think of him immediately because without him, that's not a two point game. That's probably a 10 to 12 point game. Mm-hmm <affirmative> he really the world of difference for sure.
Speaker 2 00:35:54 Uh, we talked about that last week before we had our one last ride in the Allstar game. And uh, he was like, man, I, I asked him at the time there was no emotion behind it. So I was like, why did you wait till the fourth quarter? And he was like, coach, they were guarding me with three people. It's hard to see in the midst of it. Right. And he just starts sending me pictures <laugh> and they were really loading up. They were like, and, and I'm like, like, wow. So I sit, go watch the film. Yes. I know it's too late, but they really did a heck of a job just with the scheme. And it was hard, man, but he had a heck of a fourth quarter. And if he would've probably had a, just half of that in the second or third, we probably win that game and we go on to play for a championship. But that, that moment prepared us for state though, for sure. It prepared us for state and we made another little run as well in state.
Speaker 1 00:36:54 What did it mean to you to be at Jayden signing ceremony? You said a little, little speech that seemed like a nice moment for the two of you.
Speaker 2 00:37:00 Yeah. Um, <laugh> he, uh, just to know what he's been through, man, I heard so many coaches. I had 25 coaches come here in September and seeing him in AAU and going to section seven and is like that. And they love his competitive edge. They love the, the intangibles that he presents sneaky. Athletic can shoot the ball and everybody know he's a great defender. The kid is the ultimate competitor. He's a super leader, but everybody kept talking about, he was too small and I I'm like everything else that he does takes away from his height and his size. Right? Like if we gonna just judge somebody off the size, like you, you not doing your job. Um, but he just took it as motivation. And I just took it as motivation for him as well. I call him big guard. I've been calling him big guard since met him. I watched this kid guard six, six, BJ, Boston, and however tall Peyton Watson may be and accepting that challenge. And then as a senior, he's able to post up, like, I can really put my point guard in a situation on a block and it's going more than likely work out in a positive way for it. So man, I spoke at his ceremony, Psalm sign and it meant everything to me, dude, just to, to see that smile on his face and know that he checked off another thing on his goal list,
Speaker 1 00:38:33 The last thing with him. So John W. Davis, the writer for the long beach press telegram, he names Jayden player of the year. You coach of the year. Yeah. And I'm sure a lot of people who will listen to this have already read the story, cuz they'll be St Anthony fans. But I thought one of the most interesting things in the player of the year story that John wrote Jayden says, or you say you've been playing 32 minutes. Like, are you sure you, you can keep going. And, and, and Jane goes coach between the free throws in a game. That's enough rest for me. <laugh> and when we spoke, before we started recording you, you mentioned if someone could have recorded the look on your face when you said that
Speaker 2 00:39:09 <laugh> I'm sitting there. So the, the reason that that discussion came up between me and, uh, it was actually between me JB and Elijah mm-hmm <affirmative> separate threads, but we were talking and I'm like, I, we just wanted to play a little faster. Right. And I'm like, if we play a little faster, I'm wearing down two of my best guys. And I asked JB, I said, are you sure we, he can play a little faster? And he was like, yeah. And I'm like, why <laugh> he was like, coach just the time between the free throws is enough for me, the rest of that is I'll make my body do whatever I need to do to win and help my team win. And I was like, all right, <laugh> you like, I didn't have, what else could I say? Right. I was just like, right.
Speaker 1 00:40:00 Like not gonna say, sit
Speaker 2 00:40:01 Down. Well, let's do it. And Elijah was just like, he was like, I'm with you. He's like, yeah, we can. So those, I think maybe the second half a league and throughout the playoffs, they probably played close to 32 minutes a game, if not 32. And those dudes gave it everything they had for their team and themselves man. And, and, um, they're, they're amazing. They're super amazing for that.
Speaker 1 00:40:29 I kind of buried the lead off the top earlier. I mentioned, uh, you were the coach of the year named by the long beach press telegram in year one. I think in the story, you also said that's a high bar, but what, what did that, what did that mean to you? That's an incredible accomplishment.
Speaker 2 00:40:43 It meant a lot. Um, the work that we put in all year didn't go unnoticed pretty much. And to be acknow, I think everybody would love to be acknowledged for whatever work they put in and whatever field it may be. Um, the first thing I said with the interview would, uh, Mr. Davis from the press telegram was, I would trade it for a championship. Yeah. <laugh> but it means a lot, man. I'm thankful because we went through so much in our locker room, man, so much in our locker room, off the court, uh, family issues and things. It was, it was a tough year, was bigger than basketball. And I feel like every kid in, in my locker room, um, became a better person. And that was just proof. And I think my administration super supportive man on ad Chris Morrison, Mr. Arrest, they are a principal and DVE vice like super, super supportive man. And, and um, my first day on campus was last Wednesday since I got the award. And uh, the principal said, man, I'm glad I made a great choice. <laugh> I'm like, so it just, it just makes it, it makes it, um, super man. It's a blessing, um, praise to God for that. And hopefully I can get a few more and that means we we're still successful here.
Speaker 1 00:42:01 Got a few other questions for you, Alan. First I do the research for this, and then I look at the person I'm interviewing Twitter for a little bit to try to see if I missed anything. And I couldn't help when I was reading your page, doubling upon all the Arizona love bear
Speaker 2 00:42:15 Down
Speaker 1 00:42:15 Baby, after they made their run. And you told me, so your cousins with Hasan Adams who went there, Westchester legend. Um, and that is why you're such a big fan of them and continue to be a fan of them.
Speaker 2 00:42:25 Yeah. I consider myself to be loyal. That's how my parents raised me. Uh, you make a decision, you said you just gotta stick with it. But just to, to have him as a cousin and, and being in the same, um, profession and in a, in a sense and follow his path and journey, and him just mentoring me, being honest with me and helping me, and then just being able to meet coach Lou Olson and rest his soul and Celine and all those great guys he played with the atmosphere was amazing. And it, it felt genuine. And I just kept going, man. Like I just kept rocking. I kept rocking even in the down years. Um, and I had become so tight with it when we had a bad two years, I deleted it off my, my Bleacher report at, but I was still, I deleted him off my app to stop the notifications, but I would still go search. You know what I mean? So, no, I love Arizona man. U of a is great.
Speaker 1 00:43:25 What's a sign up to now.
Speaker 2 00:43:27 He's in China still, man. Oh, still. Okay. Yeah. He's still in China. Uh, we, we talk on via messaging and he's still out there. He's been out there almost five years now. He's went to the NBA, of course, Philippines and couple other places. And he got in China and he's, he loves it there. So that's where he's at, man. I try to get him home, but he loves
Speaker 1 00:43:54 It. Yeah. If he ever hangs it, would you get him on the staff?
Speaker 2 00:43:57 <laugh> if he, if he comes home, it's true. If he comes home, I would love to have him on the staff. I would love to.
Speaker 1 00:44:05 What are your goals in coaching for next season
Speaker 2 00:44:09 To be better? Um, I know that's just a, um, very broad answer, but, um, I forgot who told me, they said year two will be even better than year one. You'll be more comfortable with certain situations, Atos, um, the preparation and things like that. And I was like, it gave me a sense of confidence to, to under like, just to just realize like, you'll really have another year under your belt. And, um, I expect to, to be better with, uh, in game adjustments. Um, I, I think I prepare with the best of them. I love just sitting and preparing and putting a scouting report together and watching 6, 7, 8 games just to prepare for one. Um, but in game adjustments, um, then just getting to know my locker room as I had 11, 12 players last year and graduate nine of them.
Speaker 1 00:45:10 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:45:11 So just to be able to build relationships with my next group of guys and to take on another journey, which I think will probably be, I don't want it to be similar, but it will be, we'll probably be underdogs again and that's perfectly fine, but I want us to embrace whatever could our way and just go through everything together.
Speaker 1 00:45:35 Yeah. The challenge ahead of you certainly will be replacing Jayden and Elijah. I'm sure he, that keeps you up at night.
Speaker 2 00:45:41 I'm working on getting for everybody out there. I'm working on getting them with fifth year. <laugh> no, I'm joking, but no, definitely. It's uh, those two guys are pretty, they'll probably be singing at legends man. Now that their career's over they're for sure. Saint Anthony legends, they, they made some history and gonna miss them.
Speaker 1 00:46:01 The last thing for you, Alan, in that 5 62 piece that they wrote when you were hired, uh, you were quoted, I think, is saying I wanna be here 10, 15, 20 years. Yeah. Is that still the case today?
Speaker 2 00:46:13 For sure. For sure, man. I'm just big on stability. I'm big on stability. And um, earlier I was talking about how I didn't really enjoy coaching a Juco, um, path, and that really had to do with me being close in age to those guys. Right. And just not having to impact my, make it quick. My first year of coaching at king drew, uh, coach Lamel DRO gave me the, the luxury of telling the guys who got cut
Speaker 1 00:46:45 <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:46:46 And I, I was like super nervous. And I'm like, dude, like, why do I have to be this guy for them? Right. And I cut, I tell, owed them. They didn't make it still come around. If you need anything, blah, blah, blah. And some of those guys' stories on why they just were trying out, even though they knew they wouldn't make it, uh, got a 10th grader whose parents don't really take care of him and his little brother and he's working a couple jobs and think is like that. And I'm like, man, these kids as teenagers, they need leadership. They need guidance. They need to feel love and things like that. So if I can provide that, I want to provide it simple as that. Um, if I feel like right now in my life, this is how God can use me to just be there for the next generation. And so I, I do plan to be here that long if I can create a legacy here and, and God willing to be a great one. And that's what I want to do.
Speaker 1 00:47:48 That's Alan Mitchell, great coach. But most of all, a great guy, Alan, thank you so much for joining me. I really
Speaker 2 00:47:54 Appreciate it. No, thank you, Carter. Thank you man.