Photo by John Napalan/Art O’Neill
The Saints are starting a new era with new expectations this season after the graduation of three-year starters Frank Staine, Josh Belvin, and Marquise Nelloms who helped take the program from Division 4 to Division 1 under fifth-year coach Allen Caveness.
“We’re a small school with only 500 kids that is now competing in Division 1,” Caveness said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show that the smaller schools, without the elite high-major talent, we can prove to be competitive on the bigger stages of high school basketball.”
That will be much more difficult to do this year with a host of new players finding their roles on the floor. Returning senior starters Jadon Jones and Gorden Boykins will lead the way on both ends of the floor.
“When I got here we were Division 3 and now I played Division 1 last year,” Boykins said. “That was a cool experience. We have a lot more pride. People want to play us now. (Coach Caveness) pushes his players and we have to do what he says. It works, and it’s been working for years.”
Caveness said Lorenzo Marsh, Kaih Williams, Elijah Price and Jaayden Bush will also be in the starting rotation.
“This year we’re more guard heavy,” Boykin said. “We’re penetrators and play makers. We want to play fast in transition. I’m on the ball more now and doing more point guard stuff.”
St. Anthony finished second in the Del Rey League behind powerhouse Bishop Montgomery last year, and lost to eventual CIF State champions Chino Hills in the quarterfinals. The Saints have won six playoff games in the last two seasons while going 49-12 overall.
“With such a new group, every game is important to us,” Caveness said. “We had a strong summer and fall, so we’re hoping to carry it into the season.”
St. Anthony will find out a lot about this new team at the Bosco Tournament next month.
“For us, a successful season is where the kids get much better and we’re a tough out in the playoffs,” Caveness said. “And for our two seniors get to continue their education and basketball career for free.”
Jones already has a scholarship offer from Northern Arizona University.