Noah Williams mimicked the dunk a few days later, riding an invisible ball between his legs, his eyes still wide.
“He’s not from here,” said Chatsworth Sierra Canyon Jr. Fellow great Bronnie James, shakes his head. “It’s something different.”
James had turned a changeup in the third quarter of a win over West Hills Chaminade on Jan. 6, capping off 12 points in a three-minute period with a jammed tomahawk. So when he forced a player on his team to steal in the fourth quarter and visibly switched to sports mode, the packed Sierra Canyon gym held its breath.
A few steps inside the free throw line, James lifted the ball between his legs and shot it. Faith suspended. His teammates took to the field in jubilation, Williams clasped his hands over his mouth, and coach Andre Chevalier frantically motioned the coach back to the sideline like a parent scolding a kid.
“There was a couple minutes where everyone else was on the court, and there was Bronie James,” said assistant coach Chris Howe.
She was Nowadays. James’ career in Sierra Canyon has been defined by viral moments that weave together an incredible tapestry of his journey. Squint and fans will see what they’re looking for: a basketball prince and son of Lakers star LeBron James. Next, a great miracle.
“It’s the heart of Sierra Canyon basketball,” Howe said at the school’s January 11 graduation night.
However, take a step back. Look closely. The fabric is incomplete.
James averaged 20 points in three straight games against Chaminade, Marietta (Georgia) Wheeler and L.A. Loyola, as he looked like the part of an aggressive scorer who could take over when needed.
Then he scored four points against Encino Crespi, and shot two-for-seven from the field, 13 in Monday’s loss to Miami (FL) Columbus.
The pressure is mounting and bigger moments are on the horizon, and given the family’s efforts to protect their eldest son from speaking to the media, it’s anyone’s guess how James handles it. The playoffs, and a stacked South Division, are looming for Sierra Canyon (17-4) in a matter of weeks.
According to a person familiar with the situation who is not authorized to speak publicly, James will make a decision on his college commitment after the season. His top three schools are Ohio — his father’s favorite — USC and Oregon. LeBron James, 38, recently multiplied In previous statements that he wants to end his career in the NBA by playing with his son.
The road has been laid. 3 1/2 years into his high school career, it’s still not clear who exactly Bronnie James will be.
Is he a great scorer, leader who would be with NBA-ready potential at the NCAA Division I level? Or does he play a complement, someone who occasionally steps out of the shadows with a spotlight?
As much as this has been billed as James’ season—and he’s now a four-year college player after playing behind Amari Bailey, Brandon Boston Jr., KJ Martin, Zaire Williams, and other Trailblazers stars—Sierra Canyon still has other advantages. Commit to memphis ashton hardaway is starting to look like a big boat. Freshman Isaiah Elohim can score consistently from the middle range. The Trailblazers’ especially deep team full rotation has potential at the college level.
Since returning from a holiday tournament in Oregon, something has changed in young James. He’s even more vocal on the field and behind the scenes. Directs traffic. It controls the tempo. Sierra Canyon feeds on his drive, Williams said, from James’ one-handed recoveries and decision making in the transition.
“When we’re rushing or we don’t know anything, we kind of look at it [James] said senior Jimmy Uladakun, who’s 6-foot-8 in and out.
This is not an early moment for Sierra Canyon. Studio City Harvard Westlake (20-1) looms on Friday, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (14-7) will face high-octane competition Jan. 27 at Pauly Pavilion, and next month’s Open Southern Section playoffs will be a dogfight.
“He’s just beginning to see who he is, and he knows what he is,” said Chevalier.