Malibu High boys basketball campaign begins

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Malibu began their season on Dec. 14 with an 80-18 home loss to Nordhoff. Photos by Devon Meyers/TMT.

The Sharks have two games under their belt with first-year coach David Goosen

Only three members of the Malibu High Sharks boys basketball team laced up sneakers on a high school hoops court before the squad’s season tipped off last week. 

First-year Sharks head coach David Goosen said the 12-player squad is inexperienced but the players have worked hard since they came together for preseason practices in October. 

“We worked on a lot of fundamentals, footwork, and of course a lot of conditioning,” he stated. “The kids were really reliable. They showed up every day. They worked hard. They were super enthusiastic.” 

Malibu began their season on Dec. 14 with an 80-18 home loss to Nordhoff. 

While most high school teams began competing last month, Malibu’s season start was delayed because the squad didn’t have a coach. The Sharks weren’t able to take part in conditioning work and preseason practices. 

The team began preparing for the season two months ago when Goosen, a coach with over a two decades of sideline experience, was hired.

Goosen, who coached boys hoops at Northridge Academy for two years before coming to Malibu, said the inexperienced Sharks have made hoops gains in a short amount of time. 

“We’ve seen a lot of progress from the kids individually,” he explained. “There have been some kids — when they came in — struggled with footwork, struggled with finishing,” he said. “Now, the footwork looks better, and they are finishing more consistently. The kids have made tremendous strides individually.”

The coach said translating the personal advances to teamwide improvements in games is important. 

“Kids that had trouble finishing, are now finishing in practice, but the games are a whole different level,” Goosen noted. “Games are faster, more intense, louder.” 

The Sharks hosted Fillmore on Monday. They will play in a four-day tournament at Panorama High School in Panorama City beginning on Jan. 2. 

Goosen’s son, Dylan Goosen, who transferred from Northridge Academy to continue playing for his dad, will take the floor with his Malibu teammates for the first time this season in their first game of the tournament — a matchup against San Fernando. He sat out the team’s first two games because of transfer rules.

The younger Goosen, a junior point guard, is the lone Malibu player with varsity basketball experience. He is more than a role player.

Goosen was named the MVP of the Valley League last season. Additionally, he helped Northridge Academy reach the Elite Eight of the L.A. City Section Division 3 tournament and finish with a 24-4 record. 

Goosen was named the Los Angeles Daily News Boys Athlete of the Week last January after swishing 14 three-pointers in consecutive games. He also dished out 17 assists and scored 60 overall points in the two contests. 

The senior Goosen said his son is a talented player — “Believe it or not, he could dribble before he could walk” — who has a knack for splashing threes and making heady plays. The coach said the guard is chomping at the bit to play. 

“The first game, it was killing him not to be out there with his friends and teammates,” Goosen said. “He was very animated on the bench. He was trying to help coach from the sidelines and help his teammates, especially guards. He tried to give them little tips and pointers.” 

The squad’s roster includes juniors Joaquin Faden, a forward, and Cooper Rose, a guard. Both were on Malibu’s junior varsity team last season. Center Jaden Mitchell, another junior, is a first-time basketball player as are sophomores guard Cooper Rose, forward Topher Hilling, and center Adam Aleme. The rest of the Sharks are freshmen — guards Noah Levin and Mark Mathi, wing players Nickau Webb and Sawyer Keegan, and frontcourt players Grayson Polatin and Morgan Donnelly. 

Donnelly and Keegan, who both played football this fall for Malibu, Goosen said, have made an impressive transition from the gridiron to the hardwood.

“I really like Sawyer’s knowledge and basketball IQ and he’s a leader,” Goosen noted. “Morgan is a raw talent and a good finisher. He’s a jack of all trades. He’s good at a lot of different things.”

Nick Kaplinsksy, the junior varsity coach at Northridge Academy last season, is Goosen’s assistant coach at Malibu.

The Sharks also play Sun Valley Magnet, Panorama, and Vaughn in the Panorama tournament. The team plays at Channel Islands on Jan. 9. Malibu hosts Valor Academy the next day. 

Goosen said the Sharks are focused on team success over individual accomplishments. 

“We have talked a lot about being patient this year and not judging our season on wins and losses,” he said. “Hopefully, a quarter of the way through the season we are better than we were at the beginning of the season. Then, at the end of the season we are a lot better than the beginning of the season.”