Compton might have its most talented roster in years, but the question will be whether or not coach Tony Thomas can get his team to play one cohesive style consistently.
“This might be one of the better teams I’ve had in awhile,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a couple styles we can play. It’s the best shooting team I’ve ever had, and if we miss shots we’ve got guys who crash the boards. And we can run with Reggie.”
Senior point guard Reginald Trimble will be the key to Compton’s success, but Thomas hasn’t been able to work with him as much this year. Trimble is enrolled in the Compton Early College program that will help him graduate with an AA degree at the end of high school. However, those academic commitments on a separate campus means that Trimble hasn’t been able to practice as much with his teammates, and Thomas said that has slowed the growth of his new squad.
Compton’s biggest advantage in the Moore League will be its size in the front court. Senior Camren Denson (6’6” 200 lbs.) and junior Jabari Steward (6’6” 225 lbs.) will be tough for any local team to deal with, and they’re hoping that also will be true in the CIF-SS Division 2A playoffs.
“This team has the most potential,” Steward said. “We have a lot of young players who will be good in the years to come. But it’s all about our defense, and it’ll be one of the stronger things about us. Ever since the mistakes last year, we’ve been working on defense.”
Steward said his team runs an active man defense that allows them to be disruptive and score off of turnovers.
Thomas said that Denson reminds him of former player Victor Robbins. Denton also transferred from a school that closed last year where he didn’t get a taste of victory, so he said team success is his top motivator this season.
“Everything is brand new and I like it,” Denson said. ”We’re bigger and have been working on moving the ball more to take better shots.”
Returning senior guard Dennis Johnson is also in the starting lineup, and 6’4” junior wing Kobi Malone will be a key contributor coming off of the bench.
Thomas said he hopes his team can get back to the top of the league by working on taking care of the ball before facing Long Beach Poly on Dec. 14.