Sharrief Metoyer has put together an impressive resume in nearly a decade as head coach at
Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
, including Southern Section titles in 2004 and 2011 and an overall winning percentage of .783.
But despite all that success, a state title has remained out of reach for the Jackrabbits under Metoyer. His 2012-13 squad may have the talent to change that, though the task just got even tougher as the CIF moves to an open division format that is meant to bring the state's top eight teams together in a single bracket.
Poly came close in 2010-11, winning 31 games and a section title with current Boston College sophomore Ryan Anderson in the lineup.
"This team is a little different than 2011," Metoyer said. "That was a more mature group. This group is more talented and sky is the limit but they can't afford to slack off."
Leading the way will be All-American candidate Roschon Prince
, a 6-foot-5 wing who has been a difference-maker for the Jackrabbits since his freshman season. Prince posted 21.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a junior. Before heading to USC next year, he could become Poly's all-time leading scorer.
"I think he is immensely better than even this summer," Metoyer said. "He is shooting the ball well, he's better off the dribble, he added a mid-range jump shot. We are going to need his scoring and rebounding."
Also crucial to Poly's success will be recent Oregon pledge Jordan Bell
, a 6-7 forward regarded as one of the nation's most athletic players. He's a highlight dunker and major force on the defensive end, averaging more than eight points and rebounds per game as a junior to go along with nearly five blocked shots.
Joining the all-star senior duo of Prince and Bell will be Portland, Ore., transfer Kameron Chatman
, a 6-6 wing who adds a shooter to the lineup. Chatman has offers from the likes of Arizona, Memphis, UCLA and Washington.
The Jackrabbits open the season Nov. 26 at the Pacific Shores Tournament in Redondo Beach.Long Beach Poly's last five years:
2011-12 – 29-3 (Sharrief Metoyer)
2010-11 – 31-2 (Sharrief Metoyer), Southern Section Division I-AA champions
2009-10 – 28-5 (Sharrief Metoyer)
2008-09 – 23-6 (Sharrief Metoyer)
2007-08 – 19-9 (Sharrief Metoyer)