He knew he was going to make a move, but he didn't expect it to be a fast break.
When Rashe Dorsey, a third-year varsity player at Van Nuys, transferred suddenly to North Hollywood, he probably tilted the East Valley League's balance of power in favor of the Huskies.
Not that the Huskies really needed it. The defending league champions, off to a 7-3 start, are expected to make a run for the City Section 3-A Division title. But it might be a lot easier now that the 6-3 forward has changed uniforms.
"We can hardly wait until practice," North Hollywood forward Dominic Nappi said. "We're really excited about it. It's going to make us better."
And, most likely, make Van Nuys (4-4) worse.
"Of course it hurts us," Coach Kevin Duford said. "But we'll just play with what we've got and see what happens."
Dorsey, a senior who was averaging 16 points a game for the Wolves, isn't likely to receive a welcome homecoming Feb. 11 at Van Nuys when North Hollywood concludes the regular season.
"I'm disappointed," Duford said. "He was our team captain. But it's all over as far as I'm concerned."
Duford was aware that Dorsey would be moving sometime during the semester, the player said. But the coach, Dorsey said, seemed surprised when the news came a day after an 11-point loss to Birmingham two weeks ago.
"He was shocked," Dorsey said. "He said, 'OK, if that's what you have to do,' and he ended it at at that. I've tried to explain to him, but he doesn't want to talk to me at all. I tried to say hi to him one day and he just walked right by me.
"We both knew back in October that I was moving. I kept asking my aunt, 'Will we be moving this week?' I found out the night of the Birmingham game."
Dorsey said that Duford was trying to make arrangements for him to remain at Van Nuys although he would no longer be living within the school's attendance boundaries.
"He could have obtained a permit to stay with Van Nuys, but he didn't want to," Duford said. "He said, 'I'm going to transfer,' and I just said, 'OK.' "
Dorsey, who hopes to play in college, called it a career decision.
"North Hollywood has a chance to win the 3-A championship," Dorsey said. "That's one of the things that made me want to go there. Naturally, If I had moved to Verdugo Hills, I would have caught the bus to Van Nuys."
Despite his experience, Dorsey will not immediately step into the starting lineup at North Hollywood, according to Steve Miller.
"I've spoken with him and told him what his role is going to be and he seemed OK with it," the Husky coach said. "His role will be to come off the bench and add leadership and rebounding and defense."
Said Dorsey: "I don't have any second-guesses about transferring. I thought about it a long time. It wasn't just something I woke up and decided to do."
Last was best: What had been a lackluster Birmingham tournament culminated with an exciting championship game between Grant and Birmingham. But although the game was close for three quarters, Grant's 25-point scoring blitz in the final quarter was indicative of the lopsidedness of the tournament as the Lancers recorded a 57-39 win.
Six games were won by more than 15 points. The average margin of victory in the 12-game tournament was 14 points. Grant (8-2), obviously the class of the tournament, breezed past Poly (66-59) and Monroe (55-44) before knocking off Birmingham. The combined record of the other seven teams teams--Monroe, Poly, Birmingham, Agoura, Reseda, Van Nuys and Canoga Park--is a dismal 23-41.
A tournament of champions it was not.
Thumbs up: During the third-place game, Monroe center Adam Clark received his biggest assist after being ejected for fighting with Agoura center Shambi Huddleston.
In the third quarter, Clark dislocated his left thumb when the two squared off. After both players were ejected, Clark's father, Ron, jumped from the stands.
"He's a paramedic," Clark said. "I showed him my thumb and said 'It's all destroyed.' He took a look at it and popped it back into place."
Fast start: Taft, expected to challenge Fairfax and Cleveland for the Valley League title, is off to a hot start. The Toreadors (9-2) won the North Hollywood tournament and narrowly lost to Fairfax, 52-49.
Kennedy, which also must buck the Lions and the 'Land, has a record that couldn't be better. Yutaka Shimizu's Golden Cougars are a lustrous 9-0.
But just how well will either team measure up against Fairfax and Cleveland in league play?
"It's hard to say," Shimizu said. "If we can keep playing at the level we've been playing at, we might give a couple of teams above us some problems. We can't surprise anybody anymore. They're going to prepare for us differently than they would if we were 5-4."
Taft is prepared to meet Fairfax again. The Toreadors led Fairfax in the final minute before losing. But it is Cleveland that has Jim Woodard concerned.
"Nobody in our league can put on the pressure like Cleveland can," the Taft coach said. "They're frightening. I think they're a clear-cut favorite to win the league."
And Taft and Kennedy?
"Right away it's a struggle for third," Woodard said. "Holy cow, it's tough in our league. We're a good team, but in our league, good sometimes isn't good enough."