Sierra Canyon basketball coach Andre Chevalier received his first look at several new players during a two-week team trip to China this summer, but Chevalier insisted on Monday that it was more about building camaraderie and understanding what Chinese exchange student Harold Yu goes through living in the United States than focusing on basketball.
“We went over there for Harold,” he said of the 7-foot-3 junior.
He said players were able to understand the challenges he faces in the United States, such as “not being with your family, not liking the food very much, being in a place that doesn’t speak your language.”
Sierra Canyon also got stuck in Hong Kong when the airport was briefly closed because of protests.
“100% they got a history lesson,” he said.
The team did play five exhibition basketball games. Chevalier offered his impressions.
On Brandon Boston, a transfer from Georgia: “I didn’t realize he shot the ball so well.”
On Amari Bailey, a returning sophomore: “Amari is very, very good.”
On Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane: “Zaire is getting acclimated to being around high-level guys. He’s a good passer and capable scorer and I’m hoping he turns into a great defender.”
On Bronny James, the son of LeBron: “Bronny was much more impressive than I thought he would be stepping into his first high school game dealing with the pressures around him. He seems very level-headed. He’s a 14-year-old freshman. He has a long ways to go and a lot to learn. We’re very excited what he can turn into.”
Ziairie Williams, a transfer from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, didn’t play on the trip because of an injury.
Chevalier, who has guided Sierra Canyon to consecutive state Open Division championships, understands that getting the players to play as a team will be critical to the season ahead.
“There’s a lot of talent for sure,” he said. “We’ll have to see if they blend well, if they work hard and are as competitive as the last group.”
Chevalier’s top priority this week might be making sure there’s enough room for college basketball coaches to watch practices. It’s the first week coaches can come to high schools to scout players, and Sierra Canyon’s gym figures to be crowded.