Elite basketball school sets up shop in La Jolla
By Phil Dailey
La Jolla has never been known for producing elite college basketball players, but that may be about to change.
San Diego native Gary Trousdale, who spent the past four years running the nationally ranked basketball program at Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix, said Thursday he has set up shop in La Jolla with a basketball-only school that will be known as the La Jolla Prep Waves.
Trousdale led Westwind, a charter school, to back-to-back top 10 national rankings the past two seasons and has produced 33 college players during the past three years. Twenty of those athletes have gone on to play at the Division I level, includng San Diego State’s Jamall Franklin and University of San Diego's Patrick McCollum.
The new La Jolla program will have two teams just like the one in Phoenix, Trousdale said. One will be comprised of high schoolers and compete nationally; the other is a post-graduate team that will also compete nationally with other post-high school academies.
“We will travel across the country and play other top programs,” Trousdale said.
Trousdale will head up the program as well as coach the high school team, which will not compete with other CIF schools; rather, the Waves will play other national high school powers such as Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and Findlay College Prep (Henderson, Nev.).
The new basketball academy will also have a post-graduate program for athletes who have already graduated from high school but are looking to improve their college stock.
The academy is in the process of securing houses in La Jolla where the student-athletes will live. It will be under adult supervision and be run “like a college program,” according to Trousdale.
“We have two (homes) that we’re looking at,” Trousdale said. “The way we run that is we have student-athletes living two to a room. We have adults who live in the house. We run it with very strict discipline.”
Trousdale expects to have up to seven to nine athletes living in each house.
“Right now, the plan is to rent, but we are in talks with some of our investors to purchase the homes,” he added.
According to their website, “Our daily schedule, individual workouts, academic study table and time management is structured exactly like a high major program. When student-athletes leave La Jolla Prep they are prepared to succeed at the highest level.”
Trousdale said, “We will not accept a student-athlete that doesn’t buy into what we’re doing. Last year, I sent seven kids home from Westwind that didn’t buy in — I sent kids home that were Division I athletes.”
Giving back to the community is also part of the plan for the Waves.
“We’re very big with community service,” Trousdale said. “In fact, we had kids volunteering their time five days a week, helping out with special education and physically handicapped kids. That will definitely be a priority for us in La Jolla.”