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High School Team Preview:
Inglewood High School--(Oct. 9, 1998)

"I got into coaching because I just love this game." Pat Roy, Inglewood High Head Coach

When you talk to Pat Roy, you get the sense that he was just destined to return to coach at his alma mater. Roy went to Inglewood High, and played all four years for then-coach Art Bias. He graduated in 1984, and then enrolled at South Plains JC in Loveland, Texas, where he played for one year. He then transferred to the University of Texas where he played for one year, and then he returned to California, enrolling at LA Valley College, where he played for the Monarchs, again for one year. Finally, he transferred to the University of New Mexico at Las Cruces which is "where it all ended when I got injured," Roy told us.  From there, he returned to California, but stayed involved in the game by coaching at the recreational youth level, "you know, YMCA and that sort of thing," Roy said. "I just loved working around kids, passing on what I had learned about the game." 

By the late 1980's Roy was working in law enforcement for the Inglewood Police Department, and finishing up his degree in Physical Education at Cal State Long Beach. It was in 1989 that he received a call from Dr. Lawrence C. Freeman, the principal of Inglewood High.  Dr. Freeman knew Roy, knew he was knowledgeable about the game, and he was looking for a sophomore team coach.  Roy got the job.  The next year, he coached the JV's, and the following year, the varsity head coaching job opened up.  This will be Roy's 7th year as head coach of the varsity at Inglewood.

Roy believes this could be one of his best teams ever. "We went 26-5 last year, and we return everyone except our point guard and a couple of shooters.  I think we'll be very strong."  Inglewood plays in the II-AA Division of Southern Section of CIF, in the Bay League against teams such as Hawthorne, Leuzinger, North Torrance, Peninsula, Santa Monica, Torrance, and West Torrance. It's a crowded league, filled with great talent.  Inglewood has, in recent memory, been the best in the league.

Last year the team went to the Division II-AA playoffs, and in the first round defeated Tustin,  defeated Troy in the Quarterfinals, and then lost to eventual Division II State Champions Santa Margarita in the semi-finals.  The team this year is, in fact, very deep, and returns everyone except Bradley Jackson (5'-9" PG) who originally signed with CSUN but, then failed a class and became ineligible;  Kevin Bradley (6'-0" SG),  DeShawn Woodard (6'-4" G/F), and Gregory Langston (6'-4" F).  The basic nucleus of young players is back, and there are also some new faces too.

Here's the roster: 

Osa Skip Esene (6'-7" Sr. SF/PF)
Marvin Issac (6'-3" Sr. SG)
Brian Taylor (6'-0" Jr. PG)
Noel Felix (6'-8" Sr. F/C)
Sandy Fletcher (6'-2" Sr. SG)
Lenny Brown (6'-3" Sr. SG)
Paul Steward (6'-10" Sr. C)
Teddy Fletcher (5'-10" So. PG)
Terry Davis (6'-2" Sr. SG/SF)
Jerrod Jenkins (6'-6" Sr. F)
Marcus  Calko (6'-1" So. SG)
Ricky Freeman (6'-0" Sr. SG/SF)
Edward McKinney (6'-3" Jr. SG)

The team will usually feature a 3 guard rotation, and a double post/wing set up, although the presence of Steward allows them to go to a more traditional two guard, two forward, center approach, which you'll also see. And with either formation, you'll likely see this team press, press, and then press some more.  The team begins with the nucleus of returning players, starting with Skip Esene (pronounced  "es-e-nee"). Skip is one of the best wing forwards in the class this year, he can move with and without the ball, rebound and block shots, and has a nice shot out to about 18'. He is currently really only looking at one school, Providence, and has an official visit scheduled in about two weeks, towards the end of October. Skip's dream is to play in the Big East, and Providence will try to fulfill that desire.  The other twin tower in the frontcourt is returning varsity player and top prospect Noel Felix. Noel is the shot-blocker on the team, and according to Roy, has the best potential (in his opinion) of anyone on the team to play beyond the next level. He's a slender, quick guy, with good hands, and the ability to fly to the basket. He's got five visits planned and will take them all, to San Jose State, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington State, and UNLV.  At the post position and relieving at the forward spot will be Paul Steward, a big 6'-10" guy who has vastly improved in the last six months, and whose biggest asset is his ability to block shots, and use his nice turn-around hook shot. Steward is looking hard at USC, and he may be the surprise sleeper recruit that Bibby comes up with at the post. Also in the frontcourt will be Jerrod Jenkins, who is a great shooter out to 17', rebounds and jumps like crazy, and he's also got some good post-up moves; in short, he's a great inside-outside guy, who is currently looking at, and will visit, Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount, and a few others.

In the backcourt, Brian Taylor will handle the point duties, and he's a sort of Allan Iverson-type of  player:  A great handle, tremendous ability to penetrate, slash to the basket, dish, or pull up with the j, which he can hit out to 20' with pretty good regularity. He's very quick, not like sprinter speed, but still quick enough to beat most defenses down the floor, and he'll do well with the full-court press that Roy likes to run.  Brian is looking at schools like USC, OSU and really "loves" Georgia Tech. Of course, he's still just a junior, so anything can happen.  At the other guard spot will be Marvin Issac (6'-3" Sr. SG), who is a deadly accurate shooter, with a great handle, nice speed, and the ability to penetrate as well.  He's a great defender and will play up on the press and do it effectively.  According to his coach, he'll probably do prep school for a year in order to improve his chances of getting a better scholarship offer.  Sandy Fletcher will also work the 2 spot in a three guard rotation, and he's probably the most tenacious of the guards, and may be the best defender on the team, and he's certainly among the hardest working. His game has greatly improved on both offense and defense this year, and he's developed a great 3 point shot, and he can also go to the rack on the drive.   He's looking at taking visits with Iowa, Boise State, and Rice.

This team is loaded with guard talent, and there are more than a few guys who will work themselves into the rotation as the season progresses. In fact, with all the talent at such a high level, it really doesn't make sense to talk of "starters" or "bench" players because everyone will probably get pretty much even playing time.  Teddy Fletcher, a young soph point guard will be one of those players. Teddy is a heady, smart "coach's player" in that he goes out and does the things a coach likes to see: Makes the smart pass, pulls it out when there's nowhere to go, resets the offense, drives and penetrates when there's an opening, and knows when to dish.  He's a pure shooter, and will be one of the hot prospects to watch in the next two years.  Also at the shooting guard spot is Terry Davis, a slender workhorse of a guy. He's quick, pushes the ball on the break, and plays great defense. He's had a good summer working on his developing shot, and he'll be joined by Marcus Calko, a young sophomore who also represents the future of the team (along with Fletcher) at the two spot. Marcus is a good shooter, and can hit the shot from 20'-25' with good regularity, and looking at him you can see he's going to be a big player, with a good frame who should hit about 185 lbs.  He's a decent defender, and moves well with and without the ball.

At the other swing spots will be Ricky Freeman and Edward McKinney.  Roy thinks that Ricky will be the surprise of the team. "He'll be our silent assassin."  He does a bit of everything well, and is a very unassuming player, and hence the most dangerous kind of guy to defend against.   McKinney is described as the "Iceman" because his game is similar to Gervin's, another silky-smooth, non-chalant type of scorer, who can go out and get to work, the type of guy who seems to be doing not a great deal as you watch him, making it look effortless, but when you check the stats, you see he's hit for 20+ points.

Inglewood  is a very deep, very talented team, and they'll face some major competition in December tournaments as a tune-up for the regular season. First they'll beat at the Fresno "Battle of Central Cal" from December 2-6. We're not sure who's hosting, and we'll have more details soon, but we do know that Washington Union is the No. 1 seed, and Inglewood is the No. 2 seed. Other teams attending will be Harvard-Westlake, Centennial Compton, Fresno Edison, Golden West and others.  Then from the 18th through the 23rd, Inglewood will travel to Vegas for the Reebok Holiday Classic. Finally they'll travel to San Diego for the Nike Winter Championship which will be held from December 26 through 31, 1998.

When the full season gets underway, Inglewood will then appear at the 1st Annual adidas/Double Pump MLK, Jr., Hoops Festival which will be held on Saturday January 16, 1999 at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where they'll play Redondo Beach in the 4:30 p.m. game.  They may also be appearing in the 5th Annual MLK Challenge put on by Dinos Trigonis at Pauley Pavilion which will be held the following Monday, January 18, 1999.

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