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SoCalHoops High School News

SoCal Coaching Notes: Tidbits,
Comings & Goings--(Jan. 23, 2001)

Russell Otis Saga Goes To Trial:   It's a certainty that Russell Otis will not return to coach the Dominguez Dons this season.  He has been bound over for trial on criminal charges of forced oral copulation and attempted sodomy with a minor, and his attorney does not expect the matter to be resolved until after the season.  We had a chance to speak with Otis' attorney Leonard Levine this past weekend, and he told us that Otis' trial will take place towards the end of March. "I fully anticipate that when all the evidence is heard, Russell Otis will be exonerated and will once again be coaching his team," Levine told us. "I do not believe there is any credible, reliable or admissible evidence against my client, and once the trial takes place, the jury will easily see just how meritless this prosecution has been."  Otis was in attendance last Monday at the Dream Classic, but there was little he could do other than watch as his Dons lost to Clovis West in a stunner.  To be continued. . . .

Close Relationships-- Coaching connections, relationships and word of mouth are sometimes what matters most in the world of high school coaching and players' selection of a school, especially when it comes to the selection of a high school by the son of a former NBA player.     Today's LA Times Orange County Edition carried a very nice story written by Dan Arritt about Drew Terry, a very talented sophomore from Northwood who is the team's leading scorer and also the son of former NBA player Chuck Terry.  The story describes the relationship between Chuck and Lute Olson, and details, at least in part why Drew chose to attend Northwood rather than Woodbridge or University in Irvine. It's worth a read: Drew selected Northwood based on the endorsement of Northwood's coach Tim O'Brien by Arizona head coach Lute Olson, a man not without his own SoCal connections:    "O'Brien began his coaching career at Saguaro High in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1982, the season before Olson started at Arizona. Olson recruited two of O'Brien's players, Mark Carlino and Virgil Harris, in the spring of 1983 and although neither went on to play for the Wildcats, Olson and O'Brien began a professional relationship that still exists today.  Drew Terry's father, Chuck Terry, also has known Olson for many years. They are close enough that he flew to Tucson to attend a memorial service for Olson's wife of 47 years, Bobbi, who died of ovarian cancer Jan. 1. Chuck Terry played for Olson at Long Beach City College in 1970, earning California community college player of the year honors as a sophomore. Chuck Terry played two seasons for Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State and was selected in the second round of the 1972 NBA draft by Milwaukee. Olson, whose early coaching career also included stops at Western High, Loara and Marina, met Drew at his basketball camp in Tucson two years ago. During a discussion with Olson, the Terrys mentioned O'Brien's hiring at Northwood.   Olson's thumbs went straight up."  For more of this story, check out the story at this link.

Cleveland Coaching Carousel:  Levitt Out, Chevalier Back In--In 1998-99 Cleveland compiled a 21-5 record with stars like Kent Dennis (LMU via West Virginia). Cleveland had co-coaches, James Morris and Adam Levitt who were selected as the LA Times co-coaches of the year.  Last year, Cleveland had three different sets of coaches in a single season: First Levitt and Morris started again as co-coaches;  a few of weeks into the season, Levitt "resigned" leaving Morris as the sole head coach.  Shortly thereafter, Morris quit, and Levitt was re-hired as head coach. Cleveland did well, but not nearly as well as 1998-99.    This past summer of 2000, Levitt remained as the head coach,  getting some assistance from Jack Pollon, former Valley Torah head coach who resigned/was fired from that job at the end of last season and who was looking for a place to call home.   But Pollon took the AGBU AD-coaching job instead, and Levitt was forced to perservere alone.  This summer also saw Cleveland's star prospect, Anthony Davis (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF)--who has signed with Long Beach State-- transfer out to Compton Centennial, leaving the team with no real offensive firepower.  With no player taller than 6'-1", Cleveland has struggled this season, compiling a staggering 1-15 losing record, the worst in school history.  Last week, evidently the administration decided it was enough, and asked for Levitt's resignation.  Levitt went on record with the local papers as saying that the team's woes were the result of "no support" from the administration.  On Saturday, Cleveland's AD Mary Schellberg disputed his claims, saying "We supported him 100 percent. We gave him everything he needed and everything he asked for."  Levitt has been replaced, at least temporarily, by Andre Chevalier, who himself played at Cleveland under current CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell.   Chevalier was also an assistant for Braswell for the past two years before returning to Cleveland.

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