Sierra Canyon basketball teams juggling games, academics on their many out-of-state trips

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Sierra Canyon’s Jimmy Oladokun has never seen a B on his high school report card.

“Six of my seven classes when I was a junior were AP (advance placement) classes,” he said. “I have a 4.8 GPA (grade-point average) now.”

Academic performance is a prerequisite for Oladokun. His mother, Irene, is a doctor. His father, Jimmy Sr., is a doctor. Both parents were born in Nigeria.

If the academics aren’t in line, there’s no basketball for Jimmy.

“That’s exactly what it is. My quality of life goes down significantly. It would just be eat, sleep and go to school if the academics aren’t good,” he said laughing.

The University of San Diego-bound forward, who transferred to Sierra Canyon from Damien for his senior season, is adding another layer to his life, something on top of high-level basketball and academics.

He’s added travel.

“Part of the decision in transferring to Sierra Canyon was to get college ready,” Oladokun said. “In college there’s a lot of traveling, so even though it can be difficult to juggle basketball and school, I like that I’m able to experience it now and be ready for it in college.”

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The Sierra Canyon boys basketball team has already made trips to Ohio and Oregon this season. This weekend the Trailblazers will be in Springfield, Mass., for the Spalding Hoophall Classic.

The trip is sandwiched between two Mission League games. The Trailblazers (17-3) were playing at Crespi Friday night, then flying east Saturday. They’ll play a game that will be shown by ESPN Monday afternoon, then will fly home that night. They’ll play a league game at St. Francis on Wednesday night.

Sierra Canyon will face Christopher Columbus High of Florida on Monday at 10 a.m. (PST) in a contest that will include five players who are sons of current or former NBA players. Sierra Canyon features Bronny and Bryce James (sons of LeBron James), Ashton Hardaway (son of Penny Hardaway), and Columbus High stars Cayden and Cameron Boozer (sons of Carlos Boozer).

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Oladokun has been able to balance the academic workload, the basketball and the travel well. In fact, he’s embracing it.

“My dream is for basketball to be my job,” he said. “And there are elements at Sierra Canyon when it feels like a job. That’s fun to me. Who doesn’t like going to work and having fun?”

Sierra Canyon has traveled with a teacher from the school to aid in any work or testing that needs to be done on the road.

“A teacher on the road with us has been really helpful for me,” Oladokun added. “It allows me to get more work done because I can finish assignments that need to be supervised.”


The Sierra Canyon girls basketball team will play in the Hoophall Classic, too. The Trailblazers (18-0), led by USC-signee Juju Watkins and juniors Mackenly Randolph and Izela Arenas, will take on Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (PST). The game will be televised by ESPN.

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Watkins and teammates have already made trips this season to Utah, Nevada and Oregon. This will be the team’s final out-of-state trek.

The Trailblazers played Notre Dame in a Mission League game Thursday night and will take on defending league champion Marlborough on Tuesday night.

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“It’s been stressful,” Arenas said. “It feels like there’s no breaks. We were traveling all through the Christmas break. It’s been specifically challenging for me because I tend to focus more on basketball than school. But I’m getting better at doing my school work while we’re on the road.”

“There’s no vacation time,” she added laughing.


Corona Centennial boys basketball, the defending CIF State Open Division champion, is also competing in the Spalding Hoophall Classic. The Huskies (16-3), led by Duke-bound Jared McCain and UCLA-committed Devin Williams, will take on Camden High of New Jersey Saturday at 6 p.m. (PST) on ESPN.

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