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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 10:55 am | Partly Cloudy 52º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
Boys Basketball

Westmont Alum Steve Baik Runs Explosive Chino Hills Basketball Team

The man behind the amazing Chino Hills High boys basketball team is a Westmont man.

Steve Baik is the coach of the No. 1 high school team in the country, a team that’s scored over 100 points 17 times, a team that rolled to the CIF-Southern Section Open Division title and a team that is led by the incredibly talented brother trio of Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball.

Baik this week was named the Naismith High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. His team is 31-0 and won its four Southern Section Open Division playoff games by an average margin of 34.5 points.

Steve Baik of Chino Hills is a Westmont alum.
Steve Baik of Chino Hills is a Westmont alum.

Before all the accolades and notoriety of coaching one of the all-time best high school teams in California, Baik was a student and basketball player at Westmont, playing for coach John Moore. He played for the Warriors from 1996-2000 and was on the squad that advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Final Four in 1999-2000.

“Steve was a four-year guy here and a fantastic man,” Moore said. “He actually became a U.S. citizen while he was at Westmont. His parents were from South Korea and he was a first generation immigrant. Mom and dad spoke very limited English.”

Baik was a reserve guard during his four years at Westmont, and Moore recognized his high basketball IQ and passion.

“Steve loved the game and enjoyed the nuances of coaching,” Moore recalled. “He enjoyed working our summer camps as a coach and was quite good at it.”

Another Westmont alum who's having a great run as a high school boys basketball coach this season is Dave Bregante. His Santa Barbara Dons are 32-1 and CIF-SS Division 2A Champions.

Moore coach shared a funny story about Baik’s passion for the game.

“We had gone to the Final Four his junior year while running the triangle offense, and for his senior year I was considering changing over to the Princeton

offense,” Moore said. “Rachel, my wife, and I had Steve and the other two seniors over for dinner in the fall and during that dinner I shared with the three of them my intent about the offense. The other two were open to it but Steve was vehement about, ‘Why during my senior year would you want to make that shift? Especially after a Final Four run the previous spring.’

“Basically, he was saying, ‘If it ain't broke why fix it,’ and there is good merit in his argument.”

With the incredible talent he has at Chino Hills, Baik runs a crowd-pleasing wide-open, free-flowing attack, led by the sensational Ball brothers.

On winning his Naismith Award, Baik, in a statement, said: “I am truly humbled and incredibly honored to be selected for the prestigious Naismith Award. This award is really about all of the amazing people in my life that have given me so much, from my wife and sons, who have sacrificed so much for me to pour into my players, to all of my past and present coaches and players, who have given their very best effort on the court.”

That includes Moore and the Warriors.

“Whatever small influence we had on Steve we are grateful for, and he has grown tremendously as a person and a coach,” said Moore. “If there is any influence, hopefully it is in how he cares for his boys and how he is helping them to become better people in the ‘Warrior Way’ of being unselfish and tough and smart.”

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