Screenshot 2023 11 20 At 2.00.15 Pm
Basketball Millikan

PREVIEW: Millikan Boys’ Basketball

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2023-24 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

High school sports is filled with comings and goings, with transfers becoming the rule and not the exception. Unfortunately for the Millikan boys’  basketball team, the transfer bug bit them hard this offseason, with the departure of first-team All-League big man Jackson Cryst and promising second-team All-League guard Donovan Desha, both of whom will be wearing other jerseys this year. The Rams got another blow before the season with the news that football player Greg McClendon, a San Jose State gridiron commit, will have to sit out his senior year of hoops to start focusing on his collegiate football career.

None of that has fazed the always-optimistic Rams coach, Curtis Boyer, who took Millikan deep into the state playoffs in his first season three years ago.

“I’m still pretty confident, we have a ton of good young guards now and a good senior guard in Ryan Ocampo,” said Boyer. “We’ve been doing well in Summer and Fall League. We’ve only got a couple of seniors, so a lot of the playing time will be the younger guys.”

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The Rams were 11-14 and 6-6 in league last year and will have to retool their offense, but Ocampo said that’s been an exciting process.

“We’re a brand new team basically that lost a couple of key pieces, but we’re excited to play together as a team,” he said. “Obviously we expected to have those guys, but it’s the next man up. You always have to stay prepared when your number’s called. We’ve got to keep playing to a high level.”

Ocampo and Boyer both said one of the advantages of running a guard-heavy lineup will be speed and tempo, which plays into Ocampo’s strengths as a decision-maker.

“We’ve really relied on our size, but right now we’re trying to speed it up and push the pace and really get home,” said Ocampo. “It’s very fun.”

A ton of young Rams will look to step up with production for Millikan this year, including 6’1” sophomore Jeremiah Hunt and fellow soph Jalen Stewart. Dylan Williams, a 6’3” sophomore, may be the team’s best shooter and they’ve got another fast young guard in sophomore Parker Snyder.

“With Jeremiah, Parker, Dylan and Jalen all being sophomores they’re going to get three years to build together and develop good chemistry,” said Boyer.

The Rams don’t have a ton of frontcourt depth but will look to Max Crawford to help anchor the paint.

“We’re going to do a lot of pressing this year, bring a lot of pressure,” said Boyer. “We have good guard defenders and we’ve got to make that the strength of our team this year.”

Boyer said he likes the way his young team is coming together so far and is looking forward to watching them develop this season.

“They’re buying in, the effort level is there,” he said. “The biggest thing is, I believe in these kids. We can make some noise if they do the things they’re supposed to do. Getting them to believe in themselves will be the biggest challenge.”

Long Beach High School Boys’ Basketball Preview
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.