Brentwood on the rise with Coach Ryan Bailey

Timing is everything, and that’s how Brentwood School came away with the coaching hire of 2011.

Ryan Bailey, a former UCLA basketball player who had been a longtime assistant coach to Jamal Adams at Los Angeles Loyola, decided it was time to try to become a head coach.

Brentwood had hired a coach, Tony Bergeron, who resigned in October after only two weeks on the job to return to the East Coast. Bailey, who did not apply the first time the job was open, changed his mind, and now the question is how long Brentwood will be able to keep him before the big-time sports schools try to steal him away.

Who would have dared to predict that Brentwood might be ready to make some of the small-school powers in the Alpha League sweat a little, starting next month?

Bailey has guided the Eagles to a 9-2 start and is preparing them to contend for a Southern Section 4A championship.


Yes, Los Angeles Windward, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, North Hollywood Campbell Hall and L.A. Pacific Hills had better be ready for largely forgotten Brentwood, a school known more for its academics than for sports teams.

Bailey took over a program that had two promising young players in 6-foot-6 junior Leland King and 6-1 sophomore point guard Tra Holder. He has tutored them and turned them loose.

“He controls the game already as a sophomore,” Bailey said of Holder, who was averaging 16.6 points and 6.2 assists after seven games. “You can’t take [the ball] away from him, and he can get by just about anybody.”

As for King, Bailey said, “He’s our inside presence. He’s had games where he had eight to 10 layups and dunks and games where he’s stepped out and hit five three-pointers.”

King is averaging close to 21 points and 20 rebounds a game, and Bailey insists the stats “are not exaggerated.”

Holder and King are the dynamic duo. Holder enjoys feeding King passes for dunks.

“I know if I do my job he’s going to find me,” King said.

Holder has been working on his shooting touch, and if that becomes more consistent, beware.

“That’s going to open the game for me,” he said. “I do well penetrating the gaps and finding my teammates. My shot will take my game to another level.”

Bailey, 34, known as “Moose” during his playing days, is thankful for the education he received serving as an assistant at Loyola

“One seat over is different,” he said. “I was glad to have a mentor like Jamal Adams, who let me do a lot of coaching. I was able to make substitutions and call plays. He gave me a lot of freedom as a coach.

“In the summer and fall, he let me do a lot of the coaching on my own, so it really developed me as a coach and I try to coach with that same model, try to develop my assistant coaches as head coaches.”

It’s interesting to note that the most recognizable Bailey in the family is older brother Toby, a standout on UCLA’s 1995 NCAA championship team.

Toby was known for his crowd-pleasing dunks, and King says Coach Bailey “is trying to get me there.”

Even though Bailey’s head coaching career is just a few months old, something tells me that in the coming years, he’s going to become the most famous Bailey.