Martin Whitmore attended Artesia High School, and has signed with Portland State.
Tyrone Lyons attended Crenshaw High School, and now UNLV, USC, Hofstra University, Wichita State University, and Alcorn State University taking a look at him.
One of the top basketball programs in the state is sending student athletes to four-year universities.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College is not known for its basketball program, but the school has given many athletes a second shot at the sport, and an opportunity to attend a four-year university by developing them into some of the state’s best basketball players.
That is the route that Head Coach Richard Wells took.
After graduating from Jefferson High School and playing basketball at Trade Tech, Wells earned a basketball scholarship to Whittier College, and since 1977, when he became an assistant coach at Trade Tech, he has been helping student athletes take the same road that he did to a college degree.
“I really wanted to help the youngsters in the community to try to see how they can take advantage of the school,” Wells said.
Wells, who has been the Head Coach since 1979, does not get the top athletes, but he has still led a winning program.
“The name itself, Trade Tech, has been regarded as a trade school,” Wells said. “The association with the idea that you can come to Trade Tech and earn a scholarship to a four year university is not something that is well known.”
That has not stopped Trade Tech from putting winning teams on the court, or giving young players a better chance in life.
“The cornerstone of what we do is teaching and character development,” Wells said. “If a player is in a JC then he hasn’t done so well in academics. So it is important to get them to turn their attention to being a real student athlete and then developing the character that goes along with it, because many of our kids have some gang affiliation. If not themselves, a brother or cousin or something like that. We try to show them that they need to turn their attention to the broader society. We take them where they are and try to move them to a university.”
Blue chip players usually receive scholarships from universities, and many other great players will end up at the more prestigious junior colleges that are outside of Los Angeles. Trade Tech normally gets players who did not get a chance to become impact players on the high school level.
Daundrekyc “Dun Dun” Parham attended Dorsey High School, where he played football and baseball, but he never played on the basketball team. After playing two years at Trade Tech, he has received a scholarship to play point guard from Rocky Mountain University in Utah.
“Dun Dun, when he came in he was very athletic, and that’s what he had going for him,” Wells said. “He had a lot of speed, but he didn’t have very good court vision, and he was not a very good shooter or scorer.”
After training at Trade Tech, Parham has become a very good shooter, making 40.5 percent of his 3-point shots this past season.
“He (Parham) never missed a practice, he always put in the extra work, and he really turned his attention to the classroom,” Wells said. “His desire and determination to be better along with the teaching and fundamental skills that we taught him really benefited him.”
A number of athletes come from the Los Angeles area.
Yashin Ali Mapp attended Hamilton High School, and he has signed with Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
Martin Whitmore attended Artesia High School, and he has signed with Portland State University.
Timothy Johnson, from Carson High School, has Oregon and Eastern Illinois taking a look at him.
Tyrone Lyons, from Crenshaw High School, has UNLV, USC, Hofstra University, Wichita State University, and Alcorn State University taking a look at him.
Irvin Flores, from Saint Genevieve High School in Hollywood, has BYU, Hawaii, and CSU Bakersfield looking at him.
Developing these players into some of the top junior college players in the state has paid dividends for Trade Tech. They have won the South Coast Conference twice over the past five years, and they made it to the Final Four in the state’s playoff tournament in 2007.
This coming season they are expected to be ranked in the top five of the state.
Wells and his coaching staff have gone up against schools that get better incoming talent but they still have been able to win at a very high percentage. One key to Trade Tech’s success is the staff that Wells has recruited.
“I see Coach Wells as a mentor of mentors,” Assistant Coach Calvin Madlock said. “He brings in a coaching staff that all has a primary goal, which is to transform these kids lives. To transition them from childhood to manhood by being patient with them and supporting them while they are here.”
Each staff member can relate to the players on the team in some way. Madlock transferred from a community college as an academic All American to a university where he played basketball.
There are coaches on the staff who had rough upbringings, but they turned around their lives through basketball.
The right environment has been created at Trade Tech for players to succeed at basketball while furthering their education.
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