Screen Shot 2023-03-21 at 11.32.15 AM
Basketball Long Beach Poly

Three Long Beach Poly Alums Coached Big NCAA Wins, Two to Sweet Sixteen

Mike Guardabascio

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

There aren’t any Long Beach products on the court for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at this point, but there are still some sitting just off to the side. Three Long Beach Poly alums got big wins as assistant coaches in the NCAA Tournament last weekend, including a pair going to the Sweet 16.

Kameron Murrell is an assistant coach at Farleigh Dickinson, which became just the second-ever 16 seed to upset a 1 seed a few days ago. When FDU coach Tobin Anderson went viral for saying, “The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them,” that was Murrell’s defensive scout he was quoting. FDU ended up losing in the round of 32, ending their (and Murrell’s) season, albeit a special and historic one. Murrell won a CIF-SS title in his senior year at Poly.

Still coaching are Xavier assistant coach Ryan Anderson, who was a California Gatorade State Player of the Year with the Jackrabbits and won a CIF-SS title as well. Anderson was a standout at Arizona and is now an assistant coach under Sean Miller, his coach with the Wildcats. Xavier is a three-seed and will face two-seed Texas on Friday evening trying to advance to the Elite Eight.

The other Poly alum still active in the tournament is Reuben Williams, who is a graduate assistant on Arkansas’ staff. Arkansas is an 8 seed and will face UConn on Thursday. Williams played and coached at Poly, departing his alma mater last season to pursue collegiate coaching dreams.

The coaching legacy for Black coaches at Poly is deep. Anderson, Williams, and Murrell all played for either Sharrief Metoyer, or current coach Shelton Diggs. Both Metoyer and Diggs are Poly alums who played for legendary Poly coach Ron Palmer, whose coaching tree now spans three generations and multiple levels of the sport.

“I’m extremely happy for those guys,” said Metoyer. “Learning in such high profile environments and on such big stages is an amazing experience. It will propel them to bigger and better things in the future–I’m very proud of them.”

Diggs echoed his predecessor’s sentiments as well.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” he said. “They’re some of the hardest workers to ever come through Poly. I always knew Reuben would go into coaching, and I plan on being on his staff in the future.”

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.