Welcome to the fourth issue of volume six of Swish, a weekly periodical with recaps and photos of Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball games, and other pertinent info such as announcements and updates from the program.
We are still trying to cope with the loss of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, and in his honor, we set all scoreboards to 24 to 8 after each game. Our coaches and players have been honoring Kobe by taking a knee with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Stingrays and Firebirds take a knee and a moment of silence at the 24 second mark of the first quarter, in honor of Kobe Bryant.
Lakers Youth Foundation
We are very fortunate to have the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation(LYF) partner with the Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball program. The LYF came to our facility this week to conduct a clinic for longtime players in our bantam and minor divisions. This amazing organization put on a clinic that these kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Not only were they taught skills and fitness, they were taught valuable lessons in life of giving your best effort, sizing up the situation, and making the most of the opportunities that you receive in life. The experience of what was taught and learned will help these kids become our future leaders, and of course, Laker fans for life!
February is Black History Month, and I will continue in this issue of Swish, with part three of the series of articles, now through February, from the Black Fives Foundation. Please visit their website www.BlackFives.org
This is an amazing organization that helps to educate all young players and fans of basketball about the early pioneers of the game that have influenced following generations, and will continue to influence the game of basketball for future generations to come.
Hudson ‘Huddy’ Oliver
“Mr. Hudson Oliver has amazed the public by his wonderful playing and is looked upon as the best player of the six colored teams.”
— The New York Age, 1909
Teams: Jersey City Athletic Club, Smart Set Athletic Club, Washington 12 Streeters, Howard University
Born: Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: Harlem, New York City
Hudson “Huddy” Oliver was a four-time winner of the Colored Basketball World Championship withthree different teams — the Smart Set Athletic Club, the Washington 12 Streeters, and Howard University.
Oliver was universally considered the best African American basketball player prior to the early 1910s.
This, along with his championship titles, makes him one of the most deserving candidates from the early years of the Black Fives Era for inclusion in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Howard University, where he also attended medical school while playing varsity basketball, Oliver became a doctor.
Dr. Hudson J. Oliver interned at Freedman’s Hospital before beginning his career as a physician in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
He moved to Harlem in 1921, where he became a prominent physician and would practice medicine for 34 years, including a stint on the staff at Harlem Hospital.
Dr. Oliver remained active in basketball, mostly coaching some women’s teams in the mid-1920s.
He was a military veteran as well as an officer in the Knights of Columbus, and was also the exalted ruler of the Monarch Elks Lodge in Harlem. He died in Harlem in 1955.
Zachary ‘Zack’ Clayton
“He has an uncanny eye for long shots and is the center of the defense.”
—The Sheboygan Press, 1934
“I think the Harlem Globetrotters, Renaissance, and the Bears paved the way for blacks by defeating the best white teams for the world championships. That was a major accomplishment for blacks in the sport of basketball.”
—Zack Clayton, 1989
Teams: Wissahickon Speed Boys, Philadelphia Tribune Five, Philadelphia Panthers, Philadelphia Colored Giants, Quaker City Elks, Chicago Crusaders, New York Renaissance, Harlem Globetrotters, Washington Bears.
Home: Philadelphia, PA
Zachary “Zack” Clayton was one of the all-time greatest basketball players of the Black Fives Era. He as born April 17, 1913 in Virginia and moved to Philadelphia as a toddler with his family. Clayton was a scholar-athlete at Simon Gratz High School, where lettered as a star in football, basketball, baseball, and track.
After high school, Clayton played guard and small forward for several Philadelphia-based basketball teams before leaving Philadelphia to join the Chicago Crusaders, a nationally recognized squad. He signed with the “Rens” in 1935 and played with them through 1946. During this time Clayton also appeared with the Washington Bears and the Harlem Globetrotters.
“He has an uncanny eye for long shots and is the center of the defense,” the Sheboygan Press explained.
In 1939, Clayton led the Rens to the inaugural World Championship of Professional Basketball title and was named to the All Tournament team. In 1943, he helped the Bears win that same title while being named to the All Tournament Second Team. “We were able to beat the white teams because of our quickness,” Clayton remembered years later.
Clayton also played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues as a brilliant first baseman with the Philadelphia Stars, Bacharach Giants, New York Black Yankees, and Philadelphia Giants.
Considered one of the ten most talented early African American athletes ever developed in Philadelphia, Clayton was enshrined in the Philadelphia Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989 alongside Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame members Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Arizin, Eddie Gottlieb, Charles “Tarzan” Cooper, Harry Litwack, and Tom Gola.
“I think the Harlem Globetrotters, Renaissance, and the Bears paved the way for blacks by defeating the best white teams for the world championships,” he said at the time. “That was a major accomplishment for blacks in the sport of basketball.”
After retiring from pro basketball, Clayton became a career firefighter, rising to the rank of Fire Lieutenant with Engine Company 45 in the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Simultaneously, Clayton began to officiate boxing matches, and eventually became highly regarded and internationally renowned. In 1952, he was the first African American to referee a heavyweight fight, in the contest between Ezzard Charles and “Jersey” Joe Walcott.
During his officiating career, Clayton refereed dozens of headline fights. When he wasn’t pacing the canvas he was outside the ropes as a judge or a timekeeper.
In 1972, he was appointed as chairman of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.
Relentlessly dedicated to his community, Clayton assisted and mentored inner city Philadelphia youth with a focus on involvement in recreation and sports. In 1972, hw was appointed to head the city’s Gang Control Unit by Mayor Frank L. Rizzo. According to police, there were more than 100 gangs and 5,000 gang members in Philadelphia at the time. “Most are in black ghetto areas,” it was reported.
In what was the finest and the most watched moment of his career in boxing, Clayton was the referee in the legendary Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” bout in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. This was the fight in which Ali employed a winning strategy that he later called the “Rope-A-Dope.”
In 1993, Clayton was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
He died in 1997 at age 84.
Here’s a link to current Laker Anthony Davis honoring Zack Clayton
Rebels versus Coronets. Photos by Carlos Jimenez
SUPER BEES GET RUN BY THE REBELS — February 2nd. The Bees were handed their first sting of defeat of this young season falling to the impressively physical Rebels. Those Rebels can shoot too! However, losing can create teachable moments, and next practice we’ll work on fundamentals—On offense, we can’t settle for bad shots, and we’ve got to learn how to protect the basketball better. On defense not giving up open shots and better rebounding shall be drilled. As for stats, Theo DeCordoba had 4 points to go with a rebound, James Haro had 2 points to go with a steal, and Arya Nawathe got a bucket too! Overall, standout games included Luca Palmer with 3 rebounds to go with 3 steals, Rex Stone had 5 rebounds, and Maddox Preston had 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Way to go, Bees. And you can be sure next game this crew will come out buzzing! Final score in those running Rebels’ favor, 16-8. Submitted by Coach Pete Harris
The U8 YMCA Santa Monica team played their heart out as they battled an experienced Culver City team. Our team was caught off guard by the long range shooters on the opposing team. We were quickly down 8-0 as our defense was adjusting to their fast pace and long range offense. However once we settled down our Santa Monica team started to add points on the board. At the end it was difficult to overcome the early deficit but we ended with a final score of 16-9. Extremely proud of our SaMo team as they faced a tough team. They never backed down and made the game closer than what the final score displayed. Submitted by Coach Carlos Jimenez
The Wildcats looked to get back on track with an early-morning matchup vs the Coronets.
Both teams started out strong with good offensive possessions. Aryan Abjani scored an early bucket and dished out an assist to Joaquin Jimenez for another basket.
Defense was the name of the game in the first half as the Wildcats were able to limit the Coronets to 2 points. Zachary Ruderman extended the lead to 6-2 on nice pull-up jumper in the lane, the first basket of his career. Emmeline Kraus pulled down 2 timely rebounds in the first half, showing a lot of improvement in this part of her game. Auden Travnikoff also grabbed 2 rebounds and had several great looks at the basket.
After the break, the Coronets started heating up. A basket in the 3rd quarter cut the lead in half. Kelan Tsay got the Wildcats back in the mix with some solid basketball plays. He finished the game with 4 rebounds and 3 steals, while always looking to get his teammates involved. Tayt Scheflin made a huge impact on the game when he dove on the floor to tie-up a loose ball at the top of key, giving the Wildcats another much-needed possession. Moments later, Aryan Abjani caught the ball in the paint and hit a turnaround jumpshot to help extend the lead. Archie Lewis also stepped up big and played solid defense to help maintain the lead.
With the Wildcats needing a little more to close the game out, Miles Smith stepped up and made some crucial plays. Having already contributed 5 rebounds and 2 steals through 3 quarters, Miles made two big defensive plays in the 4th quarter and scored a big-time bucket (the first of his career) to give his team a 10-6 lead and earning Player of the Game honors. A great game against a very tough opponent. Final Score Wildcats 10 – Coronets 9. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
Sunday, 2/2/2020, 12:50 PM Rebels vs. Super Bees: The best Super Bowl pregame show was Sunday morning’s Rookie division triple header. The Rebels took the court against the undefeated Super Bees and after the 12 minutes it seemed we were in for a defensive match up. A couple of steals and lay ups in the 2ndquarter from Player of Game Theo Franklin created some separation between the teams. He finished with 10 points, 7 steals, 4 rebounds and 1 block. Daniel Gruft kept up his consistent play on both sides of the court and finished with 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. The Rebels’s defense tightened up as the game progressed and created more turnovers. Xavier Bramlette had 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Zeke Sarr brought lots energy and had his best game with 3 steals and 2 rebounds. Daniel Batra had 1 blocked shot and pulled down 1 rebound. Mariella Belew played tough defense and did not allow any clean looks at the basket. Jason Gaines cleaned up the boards with 5 rebounds. Weston Brea had a big 4th quarter and added 4 points, 4 steals and 1 rebound. Submitted by Coach Jeff Brea
Sun. 2/9/2020, 2:00pm Comets vs. Rebels: The Comets faced off against the very talented and disciplined Rebels on Sunday and found themselves in a nail biter. Henry Kendall owned the blocks for the Comets in the first half with 3 rebounds and 2 steals, while Liam Broihier and Brandon Tae-Soo Kim kept defensive pressure on the Rebels front court. The Comets were down by 1 point at halftime, but stepped it up a notch in the second half to scrape out the win. Calvin Reardon had his breakout performance of the season with his first bucket, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Luca Samson had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and multiple assist opportunities throughout the game. Dylan Geary recorded a season high 6 rebounds, along with 3 points, and 1 huge blocked shot in the 4th quarter. Oliver Nabel showed poise and pulled down 3 big rebounds. Julian Zambrano was a wall on the defensive end with 4 steals in the second half as the pressure was on. Sydney Summers played strong and pulled down a key rebound in the 4th quarter. In the end it was Raphael Darsky earning Player of the Game for both his tenacious defense (5 steals, 2 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot) and offense, sinking 2 big time jump shots in the second half to secure the lead and ultimately the game for the Comets. Final score: Comets 13, Rebels 8. Submitted by Coach Kevin Geary
SUPER BEES GET BULLS-EYED BY THE DARTS IN THE 4TH — February 9th. Sports can be lunacy. People try to build win probability systems projecting every event touting utmost certainty, but the truth will always be you can never know till the game is played. For 3 quarters, the Super Bees struggled with their shooting, but did enough to take a 4 point lead by the end of the stanza. Standouts included James Haro with 4 points, 3 steals and a rebound. Rex Stone had 2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Arya Nawathe had 2 points, 2 steals and a rebound. Maddox Preston had 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. And Oliver Harris scored our very last bucket of the game… Then in Patrick Maholmes-like fashion, the Darts took over the 4th, scoring 8 to go along with 5 steals to our 0 points and 2 steals. We ran out of gas? Perhaps outcoached? I feel terrible about it, and that’s why these kids will have to do wind sprints at practice. Don’t worry, I’ll do them too. Final Score, the Darts thwip the Bees, 16-12. Submitted by Coach Pete Harris
The Darts took aim at the Super Bees on Sunday and hit bullseye! While the Bees used every last second of pre-game time on defensive drills and positioning, the Darts casually posed for their team photo, foreshadowing a readiness and confidence that would carry into the game. A fast paced, back and forth affair, this one was a real nail biter until the final whistle. Fans in the crowd agreed that no matter which side you were cheering for this was arguably one of the games of the season so far. Ario Aghabala once again exhibited a versatile skill set and walked away with player of the game honors, totaling 4 points, 4 steals and 2 blocks. Oguz Aghayev led the Darts in scoring with 8 points and also contributed a huge 3 steals and 2 boards. Cruz Hecklin scored his first bucket of the young season and Hawkins Wakefield was again a defensive menace for the Darts squad. In the end, the Darts were focused and determined and earned their first win of Winter 2020. Submitted by Coach Chris Chambers
The Wildcats took on the Cyclones in an early afternoon game on Sunday.
Both teams battled for the early lead with the Cyclones scoring 4 points in first quarter, and Kelan Tsay responding with 4 points of his own to keep the game tied. Rebounding was key to gaining the advantage. Aryan Abjani hauled in 7 rebounds and 1 steal to help his team stay in the game. Drew Nelson was back on the court and made an impact on the defensive end, and pulled down 1 rebound. Tayt Scheflen continues to show steady improvement, doing a great job bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense.
After going back and forth with the Cyclones for several minutes, the Wildcats’ offense started to pick up the pace. Joaquin Jimenez stepped up big, helping his teammates on the defensive end. After several key stops, he converted two buckets in the paint to put the Wildcats up by 4 at the break. Joaquin finished the game with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 steals. Miles Smith also played great defense, grabbing 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
In the second half, the Cyclones did a great job of getting quality looks at the basket. The Wildcats weathered the storm thanks to solid man-to-man defense by Zachary Ruderman, Archie Lewis, and Auden Travnikoff. Each player pulled down 2 rebounds, and Zach scored on a nice 10-footer in the lane, on Archie’s assist.
Down the stretch, Kelan Tsay played great basketball on both ends to earn Player of the Game honors; finishing the game with 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal.
Final Score Wildcats 16 – Cyclones 6. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
Action shots of the Fury versus the Thunderbolts. Photos by Adam Richards
Fury vs Thunderbolts: The game was tight throughout, with both teams playing hard and exchanging baskets.
In the final minute the Fury were up 17 to 13, but knew they had to get a bucket or at least prevent [the other team] from scoring, since they had eight free throws coming their way. With only seconds remaining [the tallest kid on the team playing against the Fury] banked in a buzzer-beater that brought [the other team] within two. [The first two players on the other team] made 1 of the first four free throws, bringing the score to 17 to 16. After missing his first FT [the player on the other team to shoot the last four FTs] came through in the clutch and made 2 of the last 3, putting [the other team] in front, 18 to 17. [he’s watching the go ahead FT drop into the basket with the scoreboard showing 17 to 17 in photo 568. I love Tristan’s tense expression; and the other teammate has his fingers crossed… you have your single finger raised, indicating this is his final shot. Love it!]
With his team down by 1, Theo Richards stepped to the line for two free throws, which the Fury were awarded due to a technical foul to the coach of the Thunderbolts for having too many players on the court earlier in the final quarter. Theo iced both shots, and the Fury squeeked by with the win. Final Score, 18:17. After winning player of the game Theo said, “I felt nervous before the free throw but knew that I needed to focus on making the basket.” Submitted by Adam Richards
Challengers vs. Toronados:
The Challengers lost a hard fought battle against the Toronados 18 – 15. The Challengers fought back hard in the second half, led by an incredible trio of 3 Point baskets by Aidan Smith. Smith tied the Bantam record for 3s in a game and led the team with 13 points and brought the team within striking distance in the final minutes of play. Smith also had a solid 7 rebounds and 3 steals in the game.
Atticus Sparks also scored a field goal, had 5 rebounds, and a steal in the effort against the Toronados. Leo Brown grabbed 6 rebounds in the game, Mariama Belew had 3 boards, Stephan Jirnih had 2, Branden Massett got one board, Dane Stephen grabbed two rebounds, Aliyah Straughter and Keanu Straughter each had a board to round out a solid effort by the Challengers. Submitted by Jason Moore
The Toronados outlasted a fourth-quarter barrage of three pointers from the Challengers to prevail 18-15. It was a real team effort for the Toronados, with key contributions across the board from every single player, especially on rebounding – with the coaches really appreciating the hard work on the board from the whole team. Q Roback scored 4 (including the first basket in his YMCA basketball), and also grabbed 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Logan Cappicille contributed 9 big rebounds and a steal and Stellan Haberli helped run the point and chipped in a key rebound. Taylan Kraus player of the game had 4 points, 6 rebounds, and an assist, while Dechen Lemond grabbed 6 rebounds, Will Schwarzman grabbed 2 boards, Axel Trussler had 2 points, a steal and a rebound, Brooks Stuber had 4 points, 5 steals, and a rebound, Rhys Scheflen had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists, and Wiley Scheflen had 2 points, 8 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Great teamwork ! Submitted by Coach Sarah Scheflen
Challengers vs Toronados game from 2-1-20 (bantam). Raining Treys! Aidan Smith had 3 threes in the game including a halftime buzzer beater from very deep. I’m told this ties an all-time Bantam league record for most threes made in a game! His final three point attempt in the last second of regulation which would have tied the game missed wide though and the Challengers fell to Tornados 15-18 in the battle for first place in the Bantam league. Photos and summary submitted by Jesse Smith
The Toronados prevailed against the Dusters 21-11 in an evenly-matched contest. Stellan Haberli stepped up big time for the Toronados, earning Player of the Game honors with a well-rounded game including 4 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and an assist. Logan Cappicille won this week’s Coaches’ Rebounding Challenge with 6 rebounds and an assist. Rhys Scheflen also had a nice all-around game with 8 points, 2 rebounds, a steal and a block. Leo Gonzalez and Q Roback each contributed 2 rebounds with Axel Trussler also grabbing a rebound, Taylan Kraus ran the point and chipped in a free throw, 2 steals and an assist, Will Schwarzman pitched in with 2 points and a rebound, Brooks Stuber scored 2, grabbed 2 boards and had a steal, and Wiley Scheflen played strong scoring 6 points and grabbed 2 rebounds. Submitted by Coach Sarah Scheflen
Challengers 33 – Caminos 24: Player of the Game Jackson Harper led the Challengers to a 33 – 24 victory over the Caminos in an exciting game. It was close throughout, going into the fourth quarter. The Challengers came through with strong scoring and impressive rebounding to come away with a victory. Harper led the Challengers with 11 points, including a three-pointer, and was solid on the boards racking up an impressive 13 rebounds. Harper also had four blocked shots for a great defensive effort.
Aidan Smith also racked up 11 points, including a commanding performance at the free throw line with 3 Free Throws. Smith also had 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Atticus Sparks scored 6 points with 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Dane Stephen also had 2 points and 2 rebounds.
Leo Brown contributed five rebounds to the team effort and scored a free throw. Evelia Brea also had 4 rebounds and Mariayama Belew had 2 boards to round out a great team effort for the Challengers. The Challengers went to 3 – 1 and are now in second place in the Bantam Division. Submitted by Jason Moore
Fury vs Sabres: Approaching mid season, these two teams took it the court Saturday. The first half went the way of the Fury who led 12-2 at halftime. The second half, started similar and the Fury was placed on restricted defense. The Sabres capitalized and took a 16 point deficit bringing it to 4 points. Fury going back to regular defense by the end of the 3rd quarter got their rhythm back and took it home to a final 24-14 win.
Theo Richards & Gabriel Hendifar took the team on their backs and once again led the Fury in all categories to the win. Richards had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and a steal for another killer game coming off his dramatic game winning free throws the week before. Hendifar had 8 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist combining for a huge game adding to his consistent dominating play for his Fury. Ari Javid played high energy every minute he had on the court totaling 4 points, 2 rebounds, a steal, and an assist. Kian Abedi played another solid game adding 2 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal along with his signature aggressive defense. Tristan Hayes & David Casparian both pulled down 4 rebounds a piece and maintained tight defense the entire game. Ryan Drew snagged a rebound and a steal and played solid defense under the hoop. Christopher Brehme held his own on defense. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes
The Impalas and Camaros faced off in a fast paced and exciting early season contest last Sunday. After falling falling behind 6-12 in the early going, the Impalas pulled even at half time, and gradually pulled away in the second half for a 42-29 win. Lots of great performances on both sides, both in the box score and in the intensity and skill displayed on the court. The Impalas passed the ball well all game, with a lot of the points coming off assists. Luke Hill led a balanced scoring effort for the Impalas with 8 points, Kellen McDonough and Joseph Zak each had 7 and Theo Haberli added 6. For the Cameros, Guy Sikora led all scores with 14 points, and Leo Sikora added 8. Submitted by Coach Ralph Haberli
Another week, another set of exciting basketball games played by Santa Monica’s YMCA Major League teams, as each roster continues their to build on their ever-improving skills and teamwork.
The first game — the Barracudas against the Roadrunners — started off as a defensive battle. The Barracudas opened the game by holding their opponent to just 2 first-quarter points; defensively-anchored by the hustle of pesky defenders Dean Phelan and Leo Mooney. On the offensive side of the ball, Bruno Picazo orchestrated an offense that, although not scoring in high volume, had great ball movements and plenty of assists. At first quarter’s end, the score was 11-2 in favor of the Barracudas.
In the second quarter, however, the Roadrunners began to show signs of life. With around 2 minutes left following back-to-back layups by Sam Rubin, Nathan Petros had a diving out-of-bounds loose ball save, which eventually led to a Petros three pointer that sparked cheers from around the gym. However, floaters by Jack Froom built a cushion for the Barracuda lead, and helped them achieve an 20-11 lead over the Roadrunners at halftime.
The third quarter and fourth quarters were played evenly amongst the teams, but the Roadrunner’s slow start in the first quarter was too much to surmount. After 7 made free throws, the Barracudas were able to push their lead to 16 points and come away with a 39-23 victory.
The second game — the Cobras against the Cougars — was fast-paced compared to the showdown between the Barracudas and the Roadrunners. In the first half, Cobras’ own Jaxson Glowacki used his size to his advantage, grabbing a plethora of rebounds that turned into outlet passes and transition opportunities.. His teammate, Sohrah Zarin, pulled down a couple rebounds of his own. Further offensive help by three-point marksmen Conner Sullivan and big-man Lorenzo Stabilini kept the Cobras in the game. Meanwhile, the Cougars opted for an aggressive style of play on both ends of the court. Luke Khosla and Clark Elliot racked up multiple steals, which helped players like Jace O’Brien get easy transition baskets. Elliot contributed a couple made-shots of his own, which gave the Cougars an 18-16 lead going into halftime.
The second half began in a scoring drought as both team got comfortable in their defensive schemes. Despite impressive passes by Tavio Esposito and continued dominance down low from Glowacki, the Cougars were only able to muster 4-points in the third quarter, while the Cobras scored 6. The fourth quarter, however, seemed to take the lid off the basket. Abol Antal opened the quarter by sinking a contested layup, followed by a 2-point field goal from Emerson Hill. The score jumped back and forth for the rest of the quarter, with 2 lead changes and 3 tied scores. As the buzzer sounded, neither team was able to build a decisive lead, and free throws began with a tied score of 28-28. After 8 consecutive missed free throws, Sullivan stepped up to the line for the Cobras with a chance to seal the game. After missing his first shot, Sullivan subsequently sunk the next 3 free throws, which gave the Cobras a 31-38 win over the Cougars. Game summaries by Santa Monica High reporter Sam Kohn
Firebirds versus Stingrays
This Week’s Profile
Each week, Swish has a profile of a coach, player, or someone in the program who inspires all of us involved in Santa Monica YMCA basketball.
This week’s profile is our beloved coach Luke Woodward who dedicates his time to help inspire our young players.
Luke Woodward has been coaching at the Santa Monica YMCA for just over a year and in his short time, he and one of his teams won the championship. He is also one of the few YMCA coaches to have simultaneously coached in the Bantam and Minor leagues. We asked Luke about his experience with basketball, coaching, and his love for the game:
I grew up in Northern California and started playing basketball when I was ten years old. I remember playing at recess and how much fun it was and how I’d look forward to recess everyday! I then started going to my local park and playing every day–and I mean every single day. Whether it was 100 degrees or in the rain, I was there. I was very dedicated and spent a big part of my childhood there. My dad would even come play with me and we had a lot of memories there. As I got older, I even started coaching some of the younger kids who would come by to play.
I played basketball all throughout high school and college and went to many exclusive basketball camps, one of which was the prestigious Michael Jordan Flight School in Santa Barbara. This was a week-long camp taught by Michael Jordan himself and where the top college players coached, as well. I met and played with players including Jason Collins, Darius Miles, and Gilbert Arenas.
During one of my days at camp, I was one of the few chosen to play one-on-one with Michael Jordan. I’ll never forget the emotions I felt during that experience, but most of all being nervous because I was playing in front of maybe a thousand people. I started with the ball when Michael grabs my ankle and holds it so I was unable to move! I tried showing off the best I could, bouncing under my legs while he just looked on. I shot my first shot and it hit the rim and missed. Regardless of playing against the greatest player of all time, I still hated to miss. Michael gets the ball, shoots, and of course it goes in. I then decided to guard him up close, with my arm on his chest. Bad idea. Suddenly Michael disappeared and I turn around to see him dunking. Michael Jordan–THE Michael Jordan-just dunked on me.
After graduating from college, I focused on my career as a realtor. In 2019, I was one of the top leasing agents in Los Angeles and I represent buildings all over the city. (Don’t forget your coach next time you are looking for a realtor!) Outside of coaching basketball, I’m an avid runner. I race in primarily half marathons, but I’ve run and placed in multiple 5K’s and 10K’s. I’ve met and run with many professional runners including Ryan & Sara Hall, Mo Farah, and Adi Nelson. I’m currently a brand ambassador for nuun, a hydration company, and Roll Recovery, a muscle recovery company.
“Bantam Team Beat”
Swish: What do you enjoy most about coaching youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Luke: I take great pride in seeing my players actually use the skills that I have taught them. But more than that, children have a sincere love of playing basketball. They are playing because it’s fun! As you get older, basketball becomes so much more competitive. After so many games, a lot of the children I’ve coached don’t care who won or lost, they are just happy they got to play–and even score!
Swish: What do you wish to teach or impart to your players?
Luke: I want to teach them every single skill possible and I’m trying! I want to impart to them that a lot of things learned in basketball can be related to other parts of your life. There are so many things you can gain just by stepping onto a basketball court: Enjoy practicing even if you miss. Enjoy the games even if you’re losing. Enjoy the process. If you put in the time and work you can become great at this sport.
Swish: Which coaches or players inspire you?
Luke: Michael Jordan has always been my inspiration in basketball. His work ethic and skills were unmatched and his desire to win was incredible. If you want to watch some great competitive basketball, watch the NBA finals when the Chicago Bulls had Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.
The players who inspire me are the children I coach. The moments I get to experience at every practice and every game show that children are really kind and compassionate to each other. I’m lucky I get to see this firsthand and I think it’s a great example that we can all follow.
There have been many times that I needed a coach at a moment’s notice to coach an invitation team from our YMCA to goto another location, and Luke has always been there and available. I can’t thank him enough for all his commitment and dedication to helping improve the lives of our youth and inspire them to achieve their goals. We all love Luke, and we thank you tremendously.
Coronets 8, Wildcats 10
Toronados 17, Challengers 15
Fury 19, Thunderbolts 18
Chevelles 10, Sabres 13
Caminos 11, Dusters 15
Roadrunners 23, Barracudas 39
Cobras 31, Cougars 28
Stingrays 33, Firebirds 47
Culver Middle School
Santa Monica YMCA 9, Culver/Palms YMCA 16
Wildcats 24, Darts 10
Coronets 14, Cyclones 6
Rebels 16, Super Bees 8
Dusters 11, Toronados 21
Caminos 24, Challengers 33
Chevelles 7, Thunderbolts 12
Sabres 14, Fury 24
Impalas 48, Daytonas 19
Torinos 27, Mustangs 19
Chargers 39 Judges 31
Camaros 42, Novas 29
Culver Middle School
Santa Monica YMCA 16, Culver/Palms YMCA 2
Darts 16, Super Bees 12
Coronets 7, Falcons 6
Cyclones 6, Wildcats 16
Comets 13, Rebels 8
Cougars 33, Firebirds 66
Barracudas 55, Stingrays 55
Cobras 32, Roadrunners 48
Camaros 34 Mustangs 10
Teams are awarded 5 points for a win, 3 points for a tie, 1 point for a loss, 0 points for a forfeit. Tournament games have greater point value. Teams are listed in their place in the standings with W-L-T and team points.
Wildcats 4-1-1, 24 points
Comets 3-0-2, 21 points
Coronets 3-3-0, 18 points
Rebels 3-2-0, 17 points *Rebels beat Super Bees head to head
Super Bees 3-2-0, 17 points
Darts 1-3-1, 11 points
Cyclones 1-4-0, 9 points *Cyclones beat Falcons head to head
Falcons 1-4-0, 9 points
Toronados 4-0-0, 20 points
Challengers 3-1-0, 16 points
Caminos 2-2-0, 12 points
Dusters 2-2-0, 12 points
Fury 2-2-0, 12 points
Thunderbolts 2-2-0, 12 points
Sabres 1-3-0, 8 points
Chevelles 0-4-0, 4 points
Torinos 3-1-0, 16 points
Chargers 3-1-0, 16 points
Camaros 3-1-0, 16 points
Impalas 3-0-0, 15 points
Novas 1-3-0, 8 points *Novas beat Daytonas head to head
Daytonas 1-3-0, 8 points
Judges 1-2-0, 7 points
Mustangs 0-4-0, 4 points
Firebirds 5-0-0, 25 points
Cobras 3-2-0, 17 points
Stingrays 2-2-1, 15 points
Barracudas 2-2-1, 15 points
Roadrunners 2-3-0, 13 points
Cougars 0-5-0, 5 points
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
10:30 AM R Comets Super Bees
11:40 AM R Falcons Rebels
12:50 PM R Cyclones Darts
2:00 PM MN Judges Novas
3:10 PM OPEN
4:20 PM MJ Roadrunners Cougars
5:30 PM MJ Stingrays Barracudas
6:40 PM MJ Firebirds Cobras
SUN 2/16/2020 Picture Day #2
10:30 AM B Toronados Fury
Bantam group photo #1 at 11:30am (Toronados, Fury, Dusters, Sabres)
11:40 AM B Dusters Sabres
12:50 PM B Caminos Chevelles
Bantam group photo #2 at 1:50pm(Challengers, Thunderbolts, Caminos, Chevelles)
2:00 PM B Challengers Thunderbolts
3:10 PM MN Daytonas Camaros
Minor group photo #1 at 4:10pm (Daytonas, Camaros, Judges, Torinos)
4:20 PM MN Judges Torinos
5:30 PM MN Mustangs Novas
Minor group photo #2 at 6:30pm (Mustangs, Novas, Chargers, Impalas)
6:40 PM MN Chargers Impalas
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish