DP For Life
“They’re good kids,” It’s an often overused saying in youth sports, however, when I think of the Desert Pines Jaguars program it’s the first thing that comes to my mind. It’s one of the state’s best programs winning championships while developing homegrown talent. DP is a closed society, there’s no money to promise, and no out-of-state transfers coming to the rescue. Make no mistake about it their kids are physically and mentally tough, however, I argue that for all the grit and grind they’re known for, it’s their intellectual ability that’s the catalyst for their success. Did you know that 6 of the 9 players on Desert Pines Roster have a 4.0 GPA? The other three are all 3.6 or better. DP wins, basketball games, graduates players, and sends them on to higher education. While many teams across the high school landscape struggle to find consistency amid year-to-year turnover, DP keeps plugging guys into their system.
“We get our type of guys here. The gritty, hard nosed under the radar guy”– Coach Daimar Harris
It’s easy to forget that those type of guys have helped DP play for and win state titles. The Program consists of smart, homegrown, gritty kids that compete with a chip on their shoulders. Practice begins and ends with defense. On this day Head Coach Daimar Harris spends the early portion letting his team know exactly what won’t be tolerated in this program. Giving up the paint, or an uncontested shot is unacceptable, however, anything less than 100% effort is punishable with sprints. Fortunately for the Jags players, those things come far and few between in this practice, as this group consists of several Hi-IQ, self-motivated competitors.
They include Prince Davis, a quiet junior guard who prefers to lead by example, and Damonte Duhart, a soft-spoken senior forward who doubles as a rebounding machine. On this day they both displayed their superpowers, as Duhart grabbed every errant shot, while Davis seemingly made every open one. They also include Curtis Coleman, a super coachable player who has gone from an impressionable freshman to a sophomore ready to pop. Those three are surrounded by two monsters, Jaylin Trotter and Greg Burrell, the former has committed to play runningback for UNLV while the latter is one of the rising freshmen in the City. While it may take the 6’7 230 pound freshman center time to get acclimated to Varsity basketball, that will not be an issue for Burrell who has provided consistency and production since the moment he stepped foot on the DP campus
“I know what I’m going to get from Greg. He’s a great defender who’s going to do whatever it is I need him to do”– Coach Harris
Despite losing three seniors, who have gone on to play college basketball, there are those guys, in that program. Those guys are rounded out with young talent, and veteran depth. The young talent includes freshman Tyler Merto, a rangy wing who can score the basketball and whose length should add depth to DP’s perimeter defense. They also have Caleb Candolesas, who everyone knows simply as “Bam”, he’s a dead-eye marksman, who matched Davis shot for shot on this day. The veterans are seniors Ronald Flenoy, a 6’5 transfer from Shadow Ridge, and Joe Brown, one of the top glue guys and teammates in the city.
Like in previous year’s DP is situated directly in the middle of the pack not expected to compete against the top teams, but expected to beat everyone else.. This is a position not unfamiliar to their Head Coach.
“It was the same thing last year, guys which guys overlooked, I’ve been here 13 years and we’ve never really opened the season as the favorite.”– Coach Harris
They probably won’t start this season as the favorite either, however, the Coach who has been part of three State titles as an assistant is confident about where they will end up.
“We’ll be right where we should be. At the end of the day we know where we’re supposed to be.”– Coach Harris
Bruce Williams is an NCAA Certified Scout who covers basketball in Nevada.
He is a UNLV Insider for the Runnin Rebel Report.