Unranked in preseason polls and featuring a roster filled with underclassmen, Encino Crespi Coach Russell White pulled off the shocker of the 2014-15 prep basketball season. His team won the state Division IV championship and took the Southern Section Division 4AA title.
White, in his ninth season, has been named The Times' boys' coach of the year.
"He was always pushing us," standout junior guard De'Anthony Melton said. "Once we reached one standard, he kept pushing higher."
For White, setting goals such as winning a Southern Section or state title was not the focus.
"I'd say winning or losing doesn't define who we are. Getting better is the focus," he said.
Crespi (29-7) went on a 10-game winning streak to end the season, learning from its mistakes while developing young players into starring roles.