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Local boys' basketball teams ready to make mark on court

Providence, Burroughs, Bell-Jeff basketball have key returners, while Burbank lacks experience.

November 21, 2012|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Providence's sophomore guard Marcus LoVett Jr. averaged 31.7 points per game last season, the best in the nation among freshmen according to MaxPreps.com.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Providence's sophomore guard Marcus… (Photo by Mike Mullen )

Each of the four local boys’ basketball teams lost key players to graduation or had individuals transfer. However, no other squad was been more depleted than Burbank High.

The Bulldogs lost 11 seniors to graduation after last season and had just two juniors on the roster. Unfortunately, both those juniors have transferred. That leaves Burbank with no returning starters and just one player has limited varsity experience after being brought up from junior varsity last season.

To make matters worse, Jerry DeLaurie took over the Bulldogs program in late August and missed the entire summer with the team.

“I have taken over programs before, but this is the most challenging job I have had in my 17 years of coaching,” said DeLaurie, who had coaching stints with the L.A. Baptist girls' program and the Pasadena Marshall Fundamental boys' and Blair boys' and girls' programs. “We have really no varsity experience on the team. The players are new and they really don’t know what to expect on the varsity level.”

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Unlike Burbank, and the other local teams — Burroughs, Providence and Burroughs — have their share of experienced returning players.

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

PROVIDENCE

The Pioneers (26-6, 8-0 in league) return the most talented and decorated player in the area last season in sophomore Marcus LoVett Jr.

LoVett was named the CIF Southern Section Division V-A Player of the Year, Liberty League Player of the Year and 2012 All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year. The sharp-shooting guard was also named to the MaxPreps.com Freshman All-American Team and earned Division V All-State first-team honors by MaxPreps.com.

LoVett averaged 31.7 points a game, which was best in the nation among freshmen according to MaxPreps.com. In addition, he poured in 1,035 points — breaking the school record — and put up 35.8 points a game in the playoffs.

“Marcus has looked good in practice,” Providence Coach Ernest Baskerville said. “He played with his travel-ball team and worked out with his dad basically all summer.”

LoVett will be one of three key returners for the Pioneers. The other two are junior guard Christian Ware-Berry, who Baskerville said has improved substantially from last season, and junior guard Jonathan Ly.

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