By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
One of the best young basketball players in the area resides at Burbank High and he is quickly rising through the ranks of the elite. Mike Woods has had a very good summer for the Bulldogs and it was quite evident how much he means to the team after his spectacular performance against Calabasas in a recent summer league game at BHS.
Woods did a little bit of everything as he scored, assisted, rebounded and blocked shots time and time again. Add three dunks to the mix and Woods had the crowd going wild. But this Burbank squad is more than a one-man show.
Four seniors graduated last winter from a team that finished 12-15 and 4-10 in league. Jerry DeLaurie has since resigned and Coach Jamayne Potts has taken over the helm. Potts inherits a team with experience and several key returners. Woods, Ben Chavez, Ellie Hanno, Faraz Khandaker and Cameron Sweeten return giving Burbank a talented core of players for Potts to work with.
Potts has begun instilling his foundation with an emphasis on a winning attitude.
“Right now I am developing their mindset first. It’s a championship mentality. Everything we do right now is at a high level,” Potts said. “Eating right, training right, sleeping properly and getting their minds out of bad habits and into good habits. It’s the most difficult thing to do. We have spent a lot of time talking about my philosophy and the style I want to play. That’s been our focus right now.”
Burbank looked solid as they dominated Calabasas early and held on for the 50-41 summer league win.
The Bulldogs held a slim 12-9 advantage before they erupted on a 16-3 run to take a commanding 28-12 lead at halftime against the Coyotes. Chavez and Hanno hit back-to-back threes followed by a layup from Khandaker. Woods recorded assists on two of those baskets as he dictated the pace of play on both ends of the court.
The lead extended to 36-23 when Calabasas mounted a comeback cutting the deficit to 42-39 with nine minutes remaining. Then it was time for Woods to put his stamp on the game with his flare and pizzazz.
First, Woods came out of nowhere to swat a shot away flying high above the rim to deny the Coyotes of an easy two points. Then he broke free for a thunderous dunk followed by an around the back layup that pushed the lead to 48-39.
Woods, a young Doug Christie clone who seemingly glides up and down the court with ease, will spend the rest of his summer playing club basketball at a high level of competition.
Burbank has spent its first summer under Potts competing in the Cal Baptist Tournament, War on the Floor, Chavez Tournament and Providence Tournament while playing in summer leagues at Burbank and Buckley.
Potts enjoys this group of Bulldogs and gave his assessment thus far three months on the job.
“I would give us a B-. We have a lot of room for improvement,” said Potts, a former assistant coach at Calabasas and Cal Tech. “There’s more offensive structure that I want to put in and defensively as well. We have a lot of work to do. Maturity will be a factor that will dictate how our season goes.”
Potts was a highly regarded assistant coach who now has been given the keys to a program eager to make a positive impression in the Pacific League.
“I’m extremely proud. I was very picky about where I would get a varsity job. This place is a goldmine,” he said. “It has great administration, facilities are great, the players are good kids, the parents are very supportive and a lot of businesses are in the area. I was extremely happy to get this job.”