The San Marino High School program graduated 10 of its 12 players from last year’s roster, making this season a difficult one to predict for everyone, even head coach Robert Zirovich.
Despite not knowing what to expect, Zirovich is enjoying a group that includes two freshmen and two sophomores.
“The exciting thing is I don’t know what this group’s potential is yet,” said Zirovich, who is in his fourth season with the Titans. “I know it’s big, but the question is how fast are we going to learn and improve? We lost 10 of 12 players from last year. That’s a big deal, but we’re completely reworking things and I’m very excited.”
The young group, led by Taylor Suetsugu and Charleston Wong, showed its inexperience early in the season with losses against Glendale Hoover, La Habra Sonora and Yucaipa.
“I’ve never had a team this young at San Marino,” Zirovich said. “We had to spend a little more time on the fundamentals, but there really never is enough time. I’ve spent more time teaching than working. We can’t necessarily do what we want to do. We do what we have to do. This is a great group of kids and really smart, and it’s just a matter of playing the game and having the opportunity to develop.”
The Titans showed some growth after the losses and bounced back with consecutive victories over Crescenta Valley and Brea Olinda last week. The team is now ranked No. 7 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll.
“I’m really happy with our defensive development,” Zirovich said. “We have ways to go but we’re developing a defensive toughness. Offensively, I’m pleased with our transition game and still developing our half-court game.”
San Marino (3-4 overall record) faced a formidable opponent in Flintridge Prep on Tuesday and will travel to Diamond Bar for a Tournament this weekend. The Titans will open Rio Hondo League play at home against Monrovia on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 3:30 p.m.
“I expect to surprise people,” Zirovich said. “I don’t think people really expect much of anything from us, and I mean other coaches and teams because we graduated everybody. Everybody thinks they can beat us, so we’ll just focus on our day-to-day.”