On Wednesday afternoon, a rumor surfaced that Taft High standout linebacker Lucky Radley was set to transfer to Agoura, potentially deflating the Toreadors' defense.
Other Taft sporting news, though, isn't nearly as bleak. The basketball program welcomed star prospect De'Andre Daniels, a 6-foot-7-inch junior forward from the Renaissance Academy, on Wednesday and sophomore guard Dominique Evans enrolled Thursday after leaving Van Nuys.
Both players will boost an already strong City Section squad that features UNLV-bound Justin Hawkins and Terran Carter, another Division I prospect.
But coach Derrick Taylor, who was holding open tryouts when contacted, is particularly optimistic about Bryce Jones, a 6-foot, 5-inch junior guard who transferred from View Park Prep. Jones isn't as big a name as Daniels or Evans, one of California's top freshmen last season, but Taylor likened him to a young Scottie Pippen.
"All three of the guys we got are really good and will help us," Taylor said. "A lot of people don't know about [Jones], but he's a high-major guy. He's athletic, long, speedy, all those things."
Jones didn't travel much last summer, Taylor said, but he's already garnering attention from Fresno State and Long Beach State.
With the new additions, the Toreadors will play at a high pace from 'tip-off to buzzer,' Taylor said. They'll be able to unleash a full-court press every game because of their new depth, a style similar to what they used a few years ago.
The deeper rotation makes a run for the state title seem very possible.
"Having all these guys will make all of us more competitive," Hawkins said. "Practices will be better 'cause everyone will want to prove themselves. We'll definitely compete for a state title."
RADLEY, TAFT FOOTBALL UPDATE The reports from the gridiron aren't as optimistic. Radley, a junior who transferred to Taft from Crespi in late-August because of academic problems, might be headed to Agoura, according to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News.
The newspaper spoke with Agoura's star offensive lineman Kevin Graf, who said Radley attended the Chargers' practice Tuesday. If Radley were to transfer, he would change guardianship and move in with the family of Agoura receiver Bryce Majdick in order to be eligible, Graf told the newspaper.
To try playing at Taft this season and avoid transfer restrictions, Radley had to petition the City Section for a hardship waiver.
But Agoura coach Charlie Wegher, reached Thursday afternoon, said Radley wasn't enrolled at Agoura and had never been to a Chargers practice. Wegher said he'd heard rumors from his players about Radley, but that there was currently nothing in the works.
"I've told my players that we need to focus on Week 1, not who might or might not come to the school," Wegher said. "If he does come though, I'd have no problem with him being here. As long as everything is kosher with the CIF, that'd be OK."
Both teams open their season next Friday -- Agoura is at Ventura and Taft hosts Venice. Will Radley be a Toreador, a Charger, or will he be stranded somewhere on the sidelines?
Please contact writer David Biderman at [email protected] with questions, comments or suggestions for future stories -- all ideas will be considered.