La Jolla Prep Waves off and running

By Phil Dailey

phildailey@lajollalight.com

It has been a fast-paced few months since Gary Trousdale decided to start a new basketball-only academy in La Jolla, and by all accounts, the transition has gone better than expected.

In only four months, the long-time coach has the La Jolla Prep Waves off and running. Two teams — postgraduate and high school — comprise the program that includes 23 players, four coaches and three houses for them to live in.

Last weekend at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in University City, it was evident that Trousdale will have his teams on the right path when the season gets under way. Coaches were coaching and players were intensely focused on one thing: Basketball.

“We’re way ahead of schedule,” Trousdale said. “What happened was that we were gonna take it slow, and I always wanted to take it slow, but with the interest level that we got, it snowballed. The phone calls that we got, kids wanted to come so it took off. None of us expected this at all.”

Players on the teams came from as far away as Iran and Latvia and as close as Los Angeles and San Diego.

Trousdale thinks there are two main reasons for the fast start to the program.

“I think it was the location and I think the success we had in Arizona,” he said.

Trousdale came from Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix where he led his team to last season’s 2A Arizona State title. He has also placed 33 of his past players in Division I programs.

This year’s high school team in La Jolla includes two players who have already committed to big-time college basketball programs in Strahinja Gavrilovic, who will play at USC next season, and Jarion Henry, who will play at one of the top Mountain West Conference basketball programs in New Mexico.

Currently, the bulk of high schoolers are going to Julian Charter School, which has an online campus. And a few others are attending The Rock Academy.

“Our plan two years down the road is to have our now facility, our own classrooms and those things,” Trousdale said. “We all have been working 24 hours a day.”

“Trousdale said all the athletes that are on his team are of high-character and there were several prospects who he turned down because he thought they would not be a good fit with his program and La Jolla.

As for the living arrangements, there are three homes — one in University City, one in Claremont and one in Pacific Beach — where the players live. They have strict rules that include study time, no girls, no music (unless on their headphones) and a curfew at 9:30 p.m. most nights. Each house also has an adult living there as well.

The post-grad team will open their season on Oct. 7 at the Mullen/Mitchell Jamboree in Baytown, Texas. As for the high school team, it will begin play on Oct. 22 at Stonerbridge Prep in Simi Valley.

“We have more talent than we ever had. The verdict is still out on what kinda team we’re gonna have, obviously,” Trousdale said.

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