BELLFLOWER, Calif. — When you're a star player, you rarely have to wait for anything. But St. John Bosco senior basketball standouts Scotty Washington and Lamaj Lewis have taken a different path to become standouts.
They chose to wait their turn before playing varsity, and Washington said it'd helped shape who they are.
"You know me and Lamaj could have gone somewhere and started varsity probably or made an immediate impact on varsity as ninth graders, but Coach Dunn just told us to stick it out, and we believed in him, and we trust the process. It taught us some perseverance again, just believe in what you believe in, and really you don't have to rush. We just stuck to the process," Washington said.
The pair of guards had to play junior varsity their freshman year rather than starting right away on varsity. And while that might seem pretty normal to most people, in a high school basketball world where stars typically start as freshmen, it's exceedingly rare.
But rather than choose to transfer, Lewis said the two bought into that process, and it built them into more than great players. It made them great leaders.
"We kind of got that taste of what it was to lead a team, how it felt to win as a leader, how it felt to lose as a leader, which really helped us now as seniors just allowing us to stay the course through wins and losses, to really keep our heads up through everything because we know that guys coming up who are going to be seniors next year… the lessons that we give them they'll give to the people and pass them down. And it will just go on from that," Lewis said.
But their journey hardly started at St. John Bosco. Washington and Lewis have been teammates since they were kids on the Frogg All-Stars travel basketball team, and they've developed a hungry mentality together.
Braves Head Coach Matt Dunn has watched them grow as players and people and said their determined attitudes set the tone for the entire program.
"I think any time your best players are really hard workers and also they're program guys – they really only care about winning. And I know that's something we think everyone is about it. But especially talented kids that's a pretty special, rare thing these days," Dunn said.
And in a year unlike any other, as they look toward playing at the next level in college and finishing out their high school careers, they've relied on their proven track records of perseverance to lead their team, and of course, will continue to root for each other.
"We might take this friendship into college and might end up being rivals, playing each other throughout our college careers. So that's definitely fun and exciting to think about," Lewis said.