CdM's Grable answers call

As one of the best players on the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team, Blake Grable speaks to reporters after games. He's usually a big reason why the Sea Kings come out on top most of the time.

One day, Grable might be the one conducting the interviews.

Grable wants to become a sports broadcaster. Ryan Schachter, CdM's coach, says Grable, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, has the looks, the smarts and voice to be on TV someday.

As part of his senior project at school, Grable got a chance to see what it takes to be a successful sports broadcaster. A family friend put Grable in touch with a professional, who happens to cover the Los Angeles Lakers and has ties to CdM.

Grable shadowed John Ireland, the Lakers' play-by-play voice on the radio. Before a game at Staples Center, Grable went to the ESPN studio, where Ireland does his radio show when he's not on the road with the Lakers.

Ireland showed Grable around and let him hang around during the pre-game show. Grable put the headset on and just listened in.

He learned that Ireland does more than sell the Lakers.

"I saw him go in and record a commercial," Grable said. "He read it off this [long] script and he had to do it in 30 seconds. He did it real fast."

Ireland impressed Grable with his quick words.

When it came to interviewing Ireland, Grable asked him how he got to where he's at now. No, Ireland, who graduated from CdM in 1981, didn't start in the No. 2 market in the country.

"He started in a small town in Louisiana," said Grable, who learned the small town was Monroe. "He basically told me that you have to do a lot [to get anywhere in this business]. You're going to have to go to remote places right out of college and you've got to stick it out."

Grable has some time before he decides where his first broadcasting job will be.

In the meantime, he's more concerned about how his basketball team will finish the season. So far, the guard has helped CdM stay in contention for a Pacific Coast League title.

Grable has played well in league play, averaging close to 14 points and two three-pointers per game. He has produced 27- and 22-point games, but the most impressive effort was his 17-point performance against Woodbridge last week.

All of his points came in the second half and the Sea Kings needed them to stave off defending league champion Woodbridge, 59-52. The victory kept CdM (17-8, 7-1 in league) one game back of first-place Northwood in the league standings.

With two league games left, CdM still trails the Timberwolves, who are 8-0 in league and the lone team to defeat the Sea Kings in league.

Grable and the Sea Kings travel to Northwood on Tuesday. They're in a must-win situation if they plan to grab a share of first place.

"We can't let the crowd affect us," said Grable, whose team closes out league with two challenging road contests, the last one at Woodbridge on Thursday.

At this stage of the season, Schachter says Grable is playing his best basketball. The timing is good. This is the stretch run for CdM before the CIF Southern Section Division 3-AA playoffs begin.

Wrapping up the regular season with a share of the league crown could aid the Sea Kings' chances of securing a No. 4 seed in the postseason. They are ranked No. 5 in the Division 3-AA poll.

While Grable's team is playoff bound, Ireland's might not be.

Grable says he's a huge fan of the Lakers. He listens to Ireland call their games on the radio when he's doing homework.

As to why the Lakers are struggling, Grable asked one of his coaches and he made sense of what the coach said.

"Too many stars and not enough role players," Grable said, sounding like he was auditioning for his first sports broadcasting job.


Blake Grable

Born: Dec. 18, 1994

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 175 pounds

Sport: Boys' basketball

Year: Senior

Coach: Ryan Schachter

Favorite food: In-N-Out Burger

Favorite movie: "Saving Private Ryan"

Favorite athletic moment: "Club basketball team in eighth grade, when we won nationals."

Week in review: Grable scored all of his 17 points in the second half, leading CdM to a 59-52 win against defending Pacific Coast League champion Woodbridge.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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