SoCal Prep & High School Previews
Huntington Park High and Coach Joe Reed--(November 9, 1997)
"I'm glad to have the opportunity to give something back; I love coaching these guys."-- Huntington Park coach Joe Reed.
Huntington Park's Joe Reed is another homegrown product who came back "home" to coach. He played his high school ball at Huntington Park, then went to Cal State Long Beach where he played for Tex Winter, now an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls. He's in his 8th year at Huntington. He spent his first two years coaching the JV's and then moved up to the head coaching position. He's married, and doesn't have any kids "yet". About that he says "talk to me in about a year."
He's been pretty successful during those years. In the last 6 years, his teams have been in the playoffs each year winning the league in 1992, and losing in the semi-finals of the City Championship in Div. 3A. Huntington competes in the Southeastern Conference, along with other 3A schools such as Bell, Fremont, Garfield, Jefferson, Jordan, Locke, Roosevelt, and South Gate.
Coach Reed thinks that HP can take the league this year, and will again challenge in the playoffs for the City Championship. And he's not just boasting, or being overly confident. He said that his team played Bell this summer, and he was surprised that they beat them by about 20 points. He admits that sometimes you can't tell a lot by what happens in summer league games, but he's very optimistic with his returning players and his newcomers.
Reed is a thoughtful, quiet type of coach, and you can tell that he communicates well with his players. He enjoys coaching, and really does believe that what attracted him to coaching, and what keeps him in it, is seeing his players progress, becoming better players and better people.
This year's team:
(5'-11" Jr. PG)
John Trujillo (6'-0" Jr. SG)
Leo Ceja (6'-7" Jr. C/PF)
John Jones (5'-9" Sr. PG/SG)
George Lopez (6'-4" Sr. F)
Joe Hernandez (6'-4" Sr. C/PF 250 lbs.)
Fernando Rodriguez (6'-0" Sr. G)
Hansel Lugo (6'-1" Sr. SG)
Edwin Marin (5'-9" Soph. G)
Ivan Aguilar (5'-8" Jr. G)
Eddie McClean (6'-2" Sr. F)
Javiar Becerra (5'-7" Jr. G)
The starting point will probably be Urbina. He's a 3rd year returning player, who's very quick, a good passer with a nice outside shot. He's really an "all around" player according to Reed, and while he didn't get a lot of playing time last year because he was playing behind an all-league senior, Reed thinks he will certainly be All-League himself this year, and possibly an All-City player. He's a good defender, with quick feet, nice speed and he can break down a d off the dribble. Urbina is a top prospect, up from the freshman team last year. He's got a great handle, can slash and penetrate either left or right, and like a point, looks to pass first and shoot second. He's already getting some notice from some small D-I and D-II schools, including CSUF and Chapman. He's smart, probably the smartest player on the team and his academics are
Trujillo also played on the varsity last year, and had some very big games off the bench, averaging in several games more than 20 points. He's also very quick, and a scorer, a three-point specialist with a good handle, but who likes the outside perimeter better than the penetration. He'll need to work on his defense though in order to have a complete game.
Ceja is the third returning player, and he uses his size to good advantage, but not in ways you'd expect. He's really a guard in a center's body; he likes to shoot the three, and is very effective; he's a tall skinny kid (about 180-190 lbs) and he'll have to bulk up a bit to truly be a post player. His real strength though is what keeps him from developing his inside game, and Reed intends to have him shooting less from the perimeter and playing more with his back to the basket on offense looking for the post move. He's got a surprisingly good handle for a big guy and can also slash and drive.
Jones will back up at the point, and Reed intends to see that he gets some significant time both at the point and at the off-guard spot. He hasn't played in two years, but has a lot of potential, and tremendous speed and footwork. He's got a nice shot out to about 15'-17', but will need to work on his three.
Up front will be Lopez and Hernandez. Lopez has really improved from last season, has a good "widebody", and has a nice jump hook shot. He's really the "enforcer" and likes to play very physical defense. Hernandez has a nice turn-around J, can penetrate and cut to the hole; Reed likes to take the help defender away from Hernandez who will then cut or shoot the short J. Hernandez is very smart, and was also on HP's Academic Decathlon team.
Backing up at the guard spot will be Rodriguez and Lugo. Fernando plays great defense, and is one of the pressure guys, who has really good hands and nice footwork. He needs to work on his shot though, and is really more of a defensive specialist going into the season. Lugo is also another defensive specialist, who loves to take charges, and has the body to do it. He's a very smart player, and uses his court sense well. Reed describes him as one of the nicest kids on the team, "just a great character."
Not much yet to say about some of the other guys. Only one senior, Eddie McClean at 6'-2" is among these newer kids, which include three guards, Marin, Aguilar and Becerra. If the season goes anything like the summer league, and teams are getting beaten by 20 points, you'll be hearing about all of these guys.
Huntington Park will be playing in three pre-season tourneys: The Gahr-Cerritos Tournament, December 2 through 6, the Glendora Tournament, December 16 through 20, and the Marin Catholic Tournament in Marin County. We'll have the brackets and other details for these tournaments this week, so check back for them.
Reed wants to instill character into his players. He wants them to play hard, never give up. He loves the level of the game he's seeing from his team, and wants to see them accomplish all of their goals this year. Look for Huntington to challenge for the league championship this year. Reed expects nothing less, and a whole lot more. It's the least a Huntington Park native can do to give something back to the school and the community that's given him so much in his life.
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