Thunder prepares for season with new stars

Jalen Glapion, DV Sportswriter

The Desert Vista boys basketball team is coming into the season with high expectations after falling short of a state championship last season.

The Thunder put up a fight in the 2017 AIA Class 6A Championship tournament and reached the semifinals, where they took a heartbreaking 43-38 loss to Basha. The Bears went on to cut the nets for the state title.

Desert Vista competed hard last season with an astonishing 19-6 record that earned a No. 3 seeding for the state tournament. The Thunder can build on that success under Coach Gino Crump after adding three new players this summer: Tyrek Chambers, a 6-foot-4 guard who moved from New York; J’Saan Strover, a 6-foot-2 transfer from Skyline High School in Mesa and E.J. Jackson, who played with Duke star freshman Marvin Bagley III at Serra High School in California.

The new players help a 13-man roster overcome the losses of Caleb Simmons and Noah Bauman, who graduated and now play for San Jose State.

Desert Vista will open the season on the road Nov. 21 against St. Mary’s, which went 15-13 last season. The Thunder still have a goal to win the state championship, which the program last won in 2008. Nine returning lettermen can help achieve that goal with their familiarity of a winning system.