With programs like
De La Salle (Concord)
, McClymonds (Oakland)
, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
and Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
garnering much of the hoops headlines in California's Bay Area, it wasn't until 2008 that Salesian (Richmond)
began building its national reputation.
That season, the Pride featured a sophomore Desmond Simmons (now a redshirt sophomore at Washington) and a freshman Jabari Brown (who would later transfer to Findlay Prep and is now at Missouri).
A year later in 2008-09, Simmons and Brown were joined by Davion Mize, Dominic Artis (Oregon freshman) and Freddie Tagaloa (California freshman left tackle) as the Pride stormed to a 31-4 record and the school's first basketball state title.
That success has set the table for Salesian's most-anticipated season yet. Led by three seniors committed to Division I schools, the Pride open the season ranked No. 10 in the MaxPreps Preseason Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard
Five-star wing Jabari Bird
(committed to California) and guards Mario Dunn
(Montana) and Markel Leonard
(Cal Poly) will be the backbone for head coach Bill Mellis, who will be looking for his third state title in California's new Open Division format, which aims to pit the state's top programs against one another in an eight-team bracket to close out the season.Jermaine Edmonds
is a fourth Division I-caliber senior who has helped Salesian rattle off a 52-4 record since January of 2011.Salesian's last five years:
2011-12 – 34-2 (Bill Mellis), Division IV state champions
2010-11 – 26-12 (Bill Mellis), Division IV state runner-up
2009-10 – 32-3 (Bill Mellis)
2008-09 – 31-4 (Bill Mellis), Division IV state champions
2007-08 – 21-9 (Bill Mellis)