SoCal Prep & High School Preview
Rialto High School and Coach Sipe--(November 6, 1997)
"I'm just a farmboy from Indiana"--Marty Sipe
Marty Sipe is the head varsity basketball coach at Rialto High School. He's been the coach there for 6 years and before that he was the coach at Rialto Eisenhower. He's been coaching for the last 31 years, and has compiled a pretty impressive record of 351 wins and 191 losses. He graduated from Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, where he moved to with his family from Indiana. He was born and raised in Winchester, Indiana, a small town that, like other small towns in Indiana, thought of nothing but basketball from fall until late spring. "If you didn't play basketball, and you were a boy, well, everybody looked at you a bit funny." He still remembers the storied team profiled in the movie "Hoosiers" and told me "I still have an original newspaper clipping about that game and the season that I keep with me". He credits his wife, who he says loves basketball about as much as he does, with his longevity in the sport. "She's probably never missed a game I've coached, and has been willing to travel around the country for basketball with me" he said.
He vividly remembers the Hoosier spirit and has done his best to instill it in the Inland Empire teams he's coached. That means he's a no-nonsense type of coach, a fairly strict disciplinarian when it comes to both sports and life. He readily acknowledged that this approach may be unpopular with kids (and some parents) these days. But he believes that "team" basketball is more important that "I" or "me" ball. And he likes to run his teams like a well disciplined group, and doesn't tolerate what he termed "outside influences". For that reason, he doesn't encourage traveling team ball. "No club or AAU basketball, no outside influences if you want to be on my teams" was how he put it. "Life's too short for prima donna players, and if a kid doesn't want to be a part of a team, then he should look elsewhere." But he added, "I'm a teacher first, and if a kid's got the desire to really play team ball, I'll pretty much die for that."
He acknowledged that his methods haven't always been popular, and that last year was "the worst experience ever" in his coaching career. But that was last year and this is now. He's got a whole new group of assistant coaches, seven in all; so many, that when I joked that it sounded like each player had his own personal coach, he had to agree. Helping out this year are Brian Frederick (whose father is the AD at Kansas with Roy Williams), John Michael Anderson, Vince Brock, Stephen Dove, Robert Medecky, Harry Ballard ("who's coached all over St. Louis"), and Jonathan Ian ("who coached at Chapman College").
The roster this year:
Revels (6'-5" Jr. F/C)
Byron Brock (5'-9" Sr. PG)
Derek Pounds (6'-1" Sr. G)
Josh Burnett (6'-2" Sr. G/F)
Greg Peterson (6'-2" Jr. F)
Andre Adams (6'-0" Jr. G)
Josh Payne (6'-5" Jr. F)
David Joyner (6'-4" Soph. F)
Of the players on this team, the player with the most potential, but also still the biggest mystery is Marquis. He's big, talented, strong and has as much potential to be great as anyone Sipe has seen. Sipe also formerly coached Okeme Oziwo (6'-8" 215 So. F) now at ASU, and he thinks that "Marquis can be much better, but only if he really puts his mind to it". He believes that Marquis is a pure, raw talent, and that he'll be an impressive D-I prospect if he can keep his head in the game. He can shoot, put a big body on guys, is good inside, and has "the best drop-step, turnaround jumper I've ever seen". Marquis will be a valuable asset to this team, and they'll need him this year if they hope to do some damage against perennial league powerhouse Eisenhower (who reportedly beat Dominguez this last summer).
At the point spot, Brock will do a credible job distributing the ball. He's got a pretty good handle, and has developed into a fine overall passer who's decision-making has improved steadily. Derek Pounds will also lend some experience to the backcourt, and he's a very hard worker who plays pressure defense.
Josh Burnett will need to improve his medium range shot, but he's just as hardworking as the rest of the guys on this team. He can put it up out to about 18' and has developed some pretty good footwork. Greg Patterson will be assisting mostly in the front court with young David Joyner, a soph who has shown he can play very well around the rim; Joyner is more of a finesse player than Patterson, with nice inside moves and good footwork. Josh Payne will also help inside, and at 180 and 6'-5", he'll be able to block up the middle and grab a few boards.
Sipe has had this group in conditioning for the last several months, taking ballet lessons to improve their balance and footwork. "We've been working with a great dance teacher, who's given the guys some great lessons in balance and movement."
Sipe is convinced that this will be a better season than last, and he's looking forward to the tournaments they'll be playing in this year, including the Ayala Tourney. Rialto plays in the Citrus Belt League, along with A.B. Miller High, Colton, Eisenhower, Fontana, and Redlands. Look for Rialto to do pretty well, and maybe even give Eisenhower a bit of trouble. We'd expect nothing less from an Indiana farmboy.
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