Culver City basketball is building a strong foundation for the future

For many years Culver City High School basketball has been an average program. While other sports have won league and CIF Championships the basketball program has struggled at times but the last fours year the Centaurs have raised the bar.

Last Wednesday the varsity team started their quest to make a deep CIF playoff run in a very tough Division 2A when they played Simi Valley. Their next game is Friday on the road against the winner of the Hilcrest versus JW North game.

The Centaurs finished the shorten regular season with a 9-6 overall record and a first place Bay League record of 8-2. Head coach Roy Walker and his staff kept the team ready despite the possibility of not even having a season because of the pandemic. "I never doubted that we were not going to have a season, maybe not a full season but I knew we were going to play," said Walker in a telephone interview last Tuesday. "I kept telling the kids that if you stay ready you don't have to get ready. They stayed ready to play. That's pretty much how we do things at Culver City."

Walker took over the head coaching job three years ago after being an assistant for one year. "Every game we play we go into that game knowing that we are going to win or at least have a chance to win."

On the court Walker is a ball of fire every minute of the game but off the court he is noticeably quiet and laid back. "That's my nature as a competitor," said Walker. "If my team does not succeed, I blame myself not the kids. That's why I coach so hard and that's why I am very passionate about what I am doing. I am trying to do things that have never been done at Culver City. That's my motivation. I want people to take Culver City basketball seriously."

This year the Centaurs won the very competitive Bay league and Walker gives all the credit to his players. "We have good players," said Walk. "We have players that come in everyday staying with the culture. What I like about this team is every night it's somebody different that steps up. I am just happy to have a group of players who play hard every night."

Although Walker does not like to single out players, he said senior Josh Smith is the top scorer on the team and junior Jackson Hoops is a close second. "Also Tyrese Cross and Xavier Williams are having outstanding seasons," said Walker.

Walker knows that when people talk about Culver City sports the first thing they mention is football, lacrosse, girls volleyball and track and field. He wants Culver City basketball to be mentioned in that conversation.

"It's a beautiful place to go to school," said Walker. "Other sports are dominant so why can't basketball be dominant. That's just how I feel. When it comes to getting good grades, I also want my kids to be dominant."

As a young coach Walker likes to learn from veteran coaches and he has one of the best on his staff in Greg Cobbs. Cobbs is a long time Los Angeles area youth coach. "Coach Cobbs coaches me," said Walker. "He helps motivate me. To tell you the truth, I love all of the coaches at Culver City."


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