All of the local boys’ basketball teams lost their share of talent from a year ago.
While Burroughs, Providence and Lycee International of Los Angeles all had key players graduate, Burbank saw some athletes transfer.
However, all four programs have their share of talented players returning, or have added some promising new athletes.
Here is a closer look at the teams.
The Bulldogs have a new coach who is a familiar face in the city. Ernest Baskerville takes over the program after previously coaching at Providence and La Salle.
Baskerville takes over for Jamayne Potts, who stepped down to take a position at Village Christian after heading the Burbank program for three seasons.
Last season, Burbank went 17-11 and 7-7 in the Pacific League to finish fourth. The Bulldogs saw their season come to a close with an 82-73 loss to Cypress in the first round of the Division II-A playoffs.
“The kids have been working really hard and I love their worth ethic,” Baskerville said. “From the time the school was looking for a new coach and they were going the vetting process the players were starving for attention. So, since the team began practicing they have been going full speed.”
From last year’s squad, Burbank lost first-team all-league senior Tyrese Willis, who transferred to El Camino. Willis averaged 14.7 points and nearly five assists. He was also an all-tournament selection in three tournaments.
Also lost to transfer was honorable-mention all-league junior Xavier Davis (12 points), who is reportedly at Cathedral.
“I don’t want to worry about who’s not here, only who’s here,” Baskerville said. “As a coach you can’t worry about who’s gone and have to focus on who is still here and who believes in the program.”
The Bulldogs do have a returning all-league second-team player in senior Erik Harutyunyan, who is coming off a successful football season. Harutyunyan averaged 12 points and seven rebounds last season.
Other players Baskerville will rely on include seniors Miles Dagostian, Jalen Clark, Jared Pasion and Isaac Anglade, a transfer from Ribet Academy, along with juniors Leo Tahmasian and Ben Burhnam and sophomore Abiel Pearl.
“I have seen some different teams in league and seen what they can do,” Baskerville said. “I think Pasadena is going to be at the top. They look head and shoulders above everyone and they have just built an elite program there.
“But I want to say that we want to play for a title. You just can’t hand it to Pasadena. You never know what might happen on any given night.”
Last season, the Pioneers went 19-10, 7-3 in league and finished third in the Independence League before advancing to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division V-AAA playoffs .
“I have been very pleased with the progress that we’ve made so far,” Providence coach Brandon Lincoln said. “The new guys that we have on the team and some of the guys from last year, along with the guys who have moved up, have done a great job and I think our chemistry is as good as it’s been.
“We definitely have to work and we have to prepare against the other teams. I think we’re in a position to pleasantly surprise some people this season.”
Providence lost its most productive player from a year ago, Tevan Khudatyan, to graduation. Khudatyan led the team in scoring, averaging 21.9 points, to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists to earn All-CIF Southern Section and All-Area recognition.
“I think we have guys who are ready to step into that role that Tevan had last season,” Lincoln said. “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be able to replace his production and we should have a more balanced attack this season.
“I think the guys are more confident this season knowing their expectations and what roles that they will have this year.”
The Pioneers return a talented core from last season, including senior Jonas Holt, juniors Jordan Shelley, Bryce Whitaker and sophomore Collin Ferrell. Moving up from from the junior varsity squad is junior Andrew Dabbaghian.
A transfer who could be an impact an impact player is junior A’Jahni Levias and senior Kalil Washington is a now addition.
New for Providence this season is it moves to the Prep League and will go against the likes of Flintridge Prep, Pasadena Poly, Chadwick and Rio Hondo Prep.
“I think the challenge of a new league is learning the style of play of the other teams and trying to get used to what they do and how they do it,” Lincoln said. “We are confident that we can compete in this league and we definitely want to finish among the top three to secure a playoff spot.”
The Indians are coming off a season in which they went 12-14 and 3-11 in the Pacific League to finish seventh. They did not qualify for the playoffs.
Burroughs lost its two top players to graduation in all-leaguers, Omar Searcy (12 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals) and Amir Montgomery (6.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists).
“The guys are working hard and getting ready, putting in the work in the weight room and the basketball court, so we’ll see what happens,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said.
“We are not a group with a lot of experience. We have three varsity returners and those guys didn’t see a whole lot of playing time last season. So we are going to have to have some guys step up for us.”
The trio of returners are seniors Sammy Solis and Bryan Oasay and junior Emery Goulet.
“We have some young guys from JV coming up that we’re hoping will help us out,” Ellis said. “We are giving those new guys a platform and giving them the ability to showcase their skill set and see if they can earn some spots.
“I’m confident that we are going to get better with time, as we get more game experience and get used to the speed of the game. But I think we have some good young talent.”
Coming up to bolster the team is junior Nick Garcia, who is coming off of competing for the school’s football team, as well as junior Carson Cardenaz.
“As far as league goes, we know we are going to be in a battle every night against some good teams,” Ellis said. “I think we’re going to be up for the challenge.”
LYCEE INTERNATIONAL OF LOS ANGELES
The Lions lost a big chunk of their impact players from a year ago, when they went 19-10 and placed third in the Independence League at 6-2. LILA fell in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division V-AAA playoffs.
“I think we have just two returning players and the rest are some brand new players or players who haven’t played that much,” Lions coach Marilyn Dubon said. “We have a few solid players, but after that we will have to see.
“We have 12 guys and they know they might not be as strong as the team last year but they are working hard and they want to improve. They are even practicing on their own to get better.”
Heading the returners is a four-year player, senior Carson Hall. He will be joined by seniors Tristin Brockovich and Hadrian Combri, along with sophomores Akai Robinson and Sacha Karimi.
“They really want to make it to the playoffs again,” Dubon said. “Yes, this rookie squad has a big head. Hopefully they can back that up … They really want to make a statement.”