The Chosen One’s invitational was memorable, full of stars on and off the floor. The future of basketball is in the youth’s great hands, and this showcase demonstrated nothing less. Superb talents such as Bronny James, Juju Watkins, and Mackenly Randolph put on a show and let the world know the future of basketball is bright.
Sierra Canyon transfer junior Watkins is the number one player in the 2023 class and finished the game with 39 points against Christ the King. In an interview with L.A. Sentinel, Watkins mentioned putting on a show for her team at the Staples Center. Watkin’s motto is playing with the right mindset and staying locked in every time she steps on the floor.
The Staples Center seats were filled with fans of the young players. Watkins said she had a whole section full of family members. With all the support from family and friends, Watkins is excited to see how far the team goes. “This is just the beginning. I’m excited. We just knocked out the number five team in the country.”
Watkins notes she aspires to motivate the youth coming up behind her. “That’s the end goal for me. To be here tonight, on this platform, this big stage with a lot of people surrounding little girls that look up to me, that’s a good feeling for me.”
Sierra Canyon has a dynamic duo with Watkins and sophomore Randolph. These two young women were unstoppable during the showcase. Watkins tells the Sentinel, “That’s my dawg man, we got that sisterhood on and off the court, and I’m glad to have her this year and win some rings this year.”
The Sierra Canyon girls basketball team has a perseverance mindset. Randolph said this was a big win to knock off the number five team in the country, and she loved having the opportunity to play in the Staples Center to showcase her talent.
Randolph said it was a goal and accomplishment to play in front of her dad, former NBA player Zach Randolph. “My dad is a big part of my mentality, the way I play, and the style of my game. He’s always telling me to go hard, be patient, aggressive, and never trying to force anything.”
It was a fun experience playing in an NBA stadium for Randolph. She says. “Mentally, I had to lock in to be ready for the challenge. Kobe, Gigi, and everybody I really miss. I wish they had the opportunity to come here and watch me. That was a big thing for me since we were so close. It brought back so many memories.”
The stacked Sierra Canyon boys basketball team dominated LeBron James former high school team St. Vincent-St Mary. Bronny James led all scorers with 19 points in a 71-53 win.
James said it felt special playing in the same gym as his dad. “I got a lot of confidence from that. It was a very special game for me. This experience is compared to nothing else.” Sierra Canyon head coach Andre Chevalier said James has been taking great strides to gain confidence and remain poised during his games.”
Chevalier mentioned how legendary this game was, and the way their team played spoke volumes. “I’m super proud of them, and this will set the foundation for the rest of the year.”
The coaching staff aims to teach the young men more than just basketball. Chevalier said basketball is secondary to them becoming great men. “We talk about it every day. A lot of people think education comes from a classroom. Education comes from experience. They are embracing it and growing incredibly as young men. I’m super proud.”