When Long Beach native Jordan Bell was given Player of the Game honors for CHPT562’s 89-74 victory over Public Enemy on Sunday, he insisted on pulling in his teammate Bonard Johnson to share the credit – and the photo. While Johnson’s 19-point, 5-rebound stat line was nearly identical to Bell’s 19 and 9, Bell’s gesture was a reflection of the team’s philosophy as much as the box score.
With 5 players in double digits and the sort of ball movement that makes them look like a troupe of trained acrobats, CHPT562 emphasizes team over individuals. Still, the team is Bell’s brainchild, pulled together from a number of fellow Beachers – many of whom, like guards Drew Buggs and Alonzo Taylor – are fellow Long Beach School District alumni. That camaraderie and unselfishness has played the biggest factor in the impressive leap the team has made in its second season, leading to a 3-1 record 5 weeks in.
Despite a stature that dictates a role in the middle of the paint, Bell is the engine of the offense, often being the first player to whip a pass across the court to a willing shooter or directing traffic thanks to the experience gleaned from his pro resume. Meanwhile, his dominant presence down low frees up the guards to work the outside and fire away, knowing he’s right there to tip in misses and generate as many extra chances as they need. The former Long Beach Polytechnic Jackrabbit knows exactly what it takes to win, and has put together a team that has not only the right pieces but also the right attitude to make it happen.