Bell-Jeff Looks To Pick Up Where It Left Off!

November 29, 2014 by  

abid_2014With a large portion of its squad returning, the mood surrounding the Bellarmine-Jefferson High boys’ basketball team is one of anticipation and confidence.

While the Guards don’t have to worry about getting a lot of players accustomed to the system, the players will have to get used to competing in a new league against some unfamiliar foes. This season, Bell-Jeff jumps from the Santa Fe League, leaving behind the likes St. Genevieve and Verbum Dei. It joins the Camino Real League that boasts Bishop Amat, La Salle and St. Monica, along with Santa Fe League holdovers Salesian and St. Anthony, which won last year’s league championship.

“It is going to be interesting for sure,” Bell-Jeff Coach Julian Andrade said of the new league. “The competition is definitely going to be stiff, but I look forward to see what we can do against those teams. This is not going to be an easy league at all and I think whoever wins the league is going to have multiple losses.

“But it’s really exciting and it’s going to be a challenge for sure.”

Like Bell-Jeff, Providence also has its share of talented players returning. Burroughs too has returned a few key players, while Burbank lost almost its entire squad to graduation.

Here is a closer look at how the teams are shaping up.


The Guards are coming off a successful 2013-14 season. Bell-Jeff (18-11) placed second in the Santa Fe League and earned CIF Southern Section Division IV-A playoff victories against Mammoth (81-34) and Mesa Grande Academy (73-49) before losing in the quarterfinals to Capistrano Valley Christian (54-52).

“Of our top eight guys from last season, five of them return,” Andrade said. “We have a pretty good nucellus of starting varsity experience that is a real big benefit for us. We have a group that has been playing together for a whole year and that’s really good for our team chemistry.”

The Guards have the benefit of having three All-CIF players all coming back.

“That doesn’t happen very often, to have three returning All-CIF guys,” Andrade said.

Those three are senior Abid Oses, who earned first-team honors, and senior Clark Thomas and junior Isaac Etter, who were both second-team selections. Last season, Oses averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game to lead the Guards. He also had 2.8 steals. Thomas averaged 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals and Etter averaged 11.9 points, 2.1 steals and nearly two rebounds and assists.

“All three of those guys are going to contribute a great deal for us,” Andrade said. “Isaac is just an amazing shooter and I would say he’s one of the best shooters around in high school.”

Other returning impact players are juniors Marco Escribano and Raffy Verano, along with senior London Webster. A freshman who could see time in the rotation is Zellie Hudson Jr. The team also has length in 6-foot-10 senior Seydina Sow.

“We have a very competitive group and they are very talented,” Andrade said. “We just have to trust one another. Some of the guys have to realize that they have other teammates just as good as they are and they don’t have to take it upon themselves all the time. If we can do that, we have a lot of weapons that teams are going to have trouble dealing with. It will be kind of pick your poison with us.”

By Jeff Tully,

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