It has been close to a decade since Inglewood High School boys basketball program played for a CIF-Southern Section championship and years since the Sentinels have been prominent players in the South Bay.
Amid the cloud and chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, Inglewood made a major hire that could be responsible to returning the Sentinels to hoop prominence.
Inglewood will turn the basketball the head coaching reigns over to long time AAU power coordinator and veteran collegiate and professional assistant coach Omar Bray.
The Sentinels saw first hand what a home run hire can do when it reeled in Milvon James for the football program last year when Inglewood was one game away from competing for a CIF title.
Bray, who played at Cal State Los Angeles and in Pro Am Leagues for years, has never been a high school head coach, but during 16 years of coaching and mentoring in the sport he did not find it necessary to apply for coaching jobs.
All that changed with his two sons Malik and Malcolm left home for college a few years ago.
“I didn’t really have the time,” he explained to Inglewood Today. Malik is now a promising college assistant coach and Malcolm is starring in college.
The Inglewood job was intriguing to Bray on a number of levels.
“I remember the history of Inglewood basketball, not just at the high school but at Rogers and Darby Park as well.”
For Bray becoming the coach at Inglewood, which last played for a CIF title in 2012, is a responsibly that he cherishes.
He remembers the glory years of 1980 when Vince Combs led the Sentinels to an unprecedented 30-0 championship season.
Bray knows all too well the rich tradition of Inglewood basketball that produced such players as Paul Pierce, Reggie Theus, Harold Miner, DeAngelo Collins, Jason Crowe, Noel Felix, USC assistant coach Jason Hart, Jay Humphries and Ralph Jackson to name a few.
He already has plans to honor some of the former greats when and if the Sentinels play a basketball season in the fall.
The task for Bray and the Sentinels will not be easy. Rival Morningside is fresh off sweeping the Sentinels last season and qualifying for the playoffs.
However, in Bray, Inglewood will have a seasoned basketball coach who came highly qualified and recommended by many prominent coaches and former players, including NBA Hall of Famer Marques Johnson.
There is no question that he knows basketball, but the key ingredient to the Omar Bray hire is the abundance of character that he brings to the table and the tremendous respect that he has garnered from the parents of players he’s coached.
It’s safe to say now that Inglewood boys basketball program is on the right path to success both on and off the basketball court.