Harvard-Westlake proves it’s possible to win title without transfers
According to CIF statistics, there were 14,818 high school sports transfers statewide in 2021-22. Transfers have been embraced by so many schools, coaches and parents as a way to win that there are never years of recovery for a select group of successful schools.
High school students leave, they are replaced by high school students from other schools. Forget about juniors and sophomores waiting their turn. It’s a competition, baby. The best teen starts. School choice, baby. Mom and dad can pick and choose as many times as they want during the move, and the coaches don’t care.
It’s all legal and happening on a larger scale in college sports, where the transfer portal may one day get its own Dr. Jones-sponsored TV show. Pepper to announce who enters the portal.
There is one benefit to many schools and parents who love the transfer game. Whenever a school or coach proves that you can still win with homegrown players, it becomes a great story.
It happened last weekend at the Sacramento State Basketball Championship, where Studio City Harvard-Westlake and Coach David Rebibo were victorious. Open Division Championship without transfer in the 2022-23 academic year.
This is unusual for a private school that can accept any student, no matter where they live.
“It can be done,” said Terry Barnum, head of athletics. “It’s damn hard, but it’s possible.”
The Wolverines have only one player on the roster who didn’t start in school, senior Brady Dunlap, who came from Newhall Hart in 2020.
Other schools have adopted a transfer strategy such as Chatsworth Sierra Canyon who had six transfers this season and six last season but did not win a championship. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame won its first state championship thanks to two transfers from the Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy, Caleb Foster and Mercy Miller.
The only private school that has been successful without transfer in recent years has been Torrance Bishop Montgomery in 2017 the starting five included high school students Ethan Thompson and Jordan Shackel, juniors David Singleton and Fletcher Tynan, and sophomore Gianni Hunt, all of whom had been there since freshman year.
Translations are not limited to private schools. When the Inglewood football program singled out 13 college players last month, 11 of them were transferred.
While transfers are legal, recruiting is not.
The desire to win at any cost can be seen in 65-page investigation report from Riverside Unified School District in December last year, alleging that a former Pauley University basketball coach and community members were involved in a scheme to register ineligible students for the program using fake residency documents from 2018 to 2022. The team was banned. out of the playoffs this season.
The decision on transfers will not end. Programs require attention. Studio City Campbell Hall could be next as the Vikings are supposed to be preparing to take in Bryce James from the Sierra Canyon which will likely lead others to follow suit.
Just be careful what you wish for. The Southern Section and the City Section continue to closely monitor schools that accept multiple transfers in certain sports to ensure that the rules are followed. The Harbor City Narbonne and LA Hawkins football programs in the city section have yet to fully recover from sanctions imposed for the use of ineligible players.
Is the reward worth the risk?
It’s always a question.
Kudos to Harvard-Westlake for proving that you can still win a championship at the highest level with players who perform like freshmen, endure and keep getting better.