On the drive to the chiropractor to adjust his back and hips, Marcus Bradley said one phone call made him feel a whole lot better Tuesday.
Corona del Mar High Coach Ryan Schachter phoned Bradley to inform the senior that he will get to play basketball in his senior year with the Sea Kings.
Schachter told the 6-foot-6, 205-pound transfer from Beaumont High that the CIF State office approved his hardship appeal. Schachter said the CIF Southern Section first denied Bradley's transfer earlier this month, ruling him athletically ineligible because the section believed the transfer was athletically motivated.
Bradley, who averaged 19 points, 10.4 rebounds and three blocks per game last season, when he earned first-team All-Mountain Pass League honors, said his transfer to CdM had nothing to do with basketball.
"It was really for personal reasons and it's complicated," said Bradley, adding that he moved away from his parents and into the area with his grandparents in June.
"This means everything. I'm really excited about [the decision]. I would lose sleep at night over this. I couldn't picture myself going to high school and not being able to play ball."
Bradley joins a CdM team, which is coming off a 24-4 season in which it won a Pacific Coast League title and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III-A playoffs.
With a big and athletic body in Bradley, the Sea Kings are section title contenders again.
Returning for CdM are senior guards Danny Cheek and Clayton Ragsdale, who shared the Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year award and earned second-team All-CIF Southern Section Division III-A laurels last season.
Schachter said he is happy for Bradley after his grandpa, Jim Hauke, who is Bradley's guardian, appealed the denial through the state.
"I was very disappointed in the original decision [by the CIF Southern Section]," Schachter said. "I felt bad for Marcus and his family, but now we can move forward."
The goal at CdM is to raise a sixth section boys' basketball title in the gym. The previous one came in Schachter's first season at the school in 2006-07.
"We have really high hopes," said Bradley, a Montana State and Army recruit, who is not the first in his family to attend CdM. "My mom, my aunt and three uncles went to school here and I like it here."
Bradley is adjusting well to his third school in four years. The back and hips need a little help before Bradley's final high school basketball season starts in December.
- The Battle of the Bay in boys' basketball will not happen this upcoming season.
Newport Harbor Coach Larry Hirst said he could not recall a time during his first 15 years in which the Sailors and Sea Kings did not play the rivalry game.
Hirst said a scheduling conflict cancelled the Back Bay game that is usually an annual event.
"We're going to Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving," said Hirst, whose players will do community service, visit a pediatric cancer ward, hold basketball clinics for elementary schools, and go sightseeing. "It's really a hard trip to pass up for the kids. I usually like to go to some place cold [during the holidays]."
Left out in the cold is CdM, which will be loaded this season.
The Sea Kings have defeated the Sailors in each of the last four meetings coached by Schachter.
Schachter said he has not given the cancelled game much thought.
"It's really difficult to get that perfect date," said Hirst, whose Sailors have played the Sea Kings in either November, December or January in the past six seasons, winning once during the stretch.
"It's getting hard being in the Sunset League and having to play Los Alamitos on a Friday night and then play your cross-town rival on Saturday."
- Corona del Mar plans to do more than just play girls' volleyball in Chicago on Friday and Saturday.
Coach Darryl Gan said the Sea Kings (7-3) are going to watch a play while out of town at the Mother McAuley ASICS Challenge. Gan said the Sea Kings fly out today for the prestigious two-day national tournament.
"It's a pretty special tournament," said Gan, who gets to coach in it for the first time. "It's a tournament that us, Mira Costa and Newport [Harbor] rotate going to every three years. It's a good high-caliber … tournament, and we get to go together and do a little team bonding at the same time."