Basketball Long Beach Poly

Long Beach Poly’s Jalen Pitre Commits to Pepperdine

Long Beach Poly senior basketball player Jalen Pitre committed to Pepperdine late last week, citing a connection with coach Lorenzo Romar as the biggest reasons he chose the Waves’ program. Pitre will join fellow Jackrabbit Darryl Polk in Malibu, and said that Polk’s feedback helped him make his decision.

“Coach Romar has been recruiting me really hard and of all the coaches recruiting me he’s the one who seemed like he was really all about me,” said Pitre. “Darryl Polk talked to me a lot about their player development and the culture, which I really liked.’

Pitre is a 6-foot-8 power forward, but like Poly’s Peyton Watson, he developed guard skills as a younger player.

“Coach Romar told me I don’t have a position, I’m just a hooper,” said Pitre.

Like all parents of kids committing to college for sports, Pitre’s mother Tanisha said she was feeling a mix of emotions.

“I’m excited, but there’s also this sense of relief because it’s done,” she said. “He’s made a decision, and I know college is paid for. Deep breath, I can breathe.”

Pitre transferred to Poly from Gahr shortly before the pandemic closed all schools in Southern California. He hasn’t yet suited up in a Jackrabbits uniform but he and his mother both said they feel a tremendous sense of loyalty to the school already.

“They take athletics and education seriously there,” he said. “That wasn’t the case at my old school—it was hard to put my goals out there because everyone didn’t share them. Poly has been perfect—when I transferred, on my first day I was watching the teachers helping everyone one by one. Everyone is about their stuff at that school.”

Tanisha said that she was hoping being at Poly would help attract more college coaches’ attention, with both the name brand of the school and the attention being paid to Watson.

“He hasn’t even played there yet but you transfer and word gets around and it’s like, ‘Oh he goes to Poly,’ so people started calling. To me, it was amazing,” she said with a laugh.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.