There’s no way to sugarcoat it–last season was a tough one for the Compton boys’ basketball team. A proud program with a long and storied history–and a current six-time NBA All-Star in DeMar DeRozan–struggled mightily for the entire year. Compton finished 5-23 overall under first-year coach Tony Finley, and went a winless 0-12 in the Moore League for the first time in program history.
Now, the good news. Finley was hired shortly before the season last year and didn’t have much time to develop his team or imbue cohesion. This year Compton goes into the season with an actual full offseason under their belt, and that has Finley feeling a lot better about his squad.
“I’m feeling a lot better than I did last year, I’ll tell you that much,” he said. “We should be a lot more competitive, we’ve had the time to lay the foundation and built a culture over there, and it’s starting to show.”
Compton returns Jashon Finley, their first-team All-Moore League guard. A speedster who can score, the 5’11” Finley will look to lead his team to a better finish in the league.
“Last year was tough, this year will be better,” he said. “This year we built a lot more chemistry and trust. We just didn’t have that much time together before last season. We’re a lot stronger as a team, everyone’s more comfortable with each other this year.”
Oshon Mitchell, a 6’1” wing, is the team’s other captain and returning all-league player. Both Finleys agree he’s in for a big season, as is another returner in 6’3” forward Keon Jones. Xavier Goodlow is another small but speedy guard, and 6’5” Ryan Evans will anchor the center of Compton’s defense.
“I think we showed the kids that I’m dedicated, and we’ve built that trust,” said Finley. “Once they believed they had a coach who has their back, the work ethic got better. We looked like a completely different team last February than we did in November, so we’re building on where we left off. We have all three levels again this year which is tremendous, we’ve got numbers showing up. Getting people to believe and put forth the work and be consistent–it’s starting to pay off. How that translates to wins and losses? We’ll soon find out.”