Senior Class of Boys Basketball Team Reflects On Their Time At Oakland High

The seniors on the state champion Oakland High Wildcats boys basketball team dealt with a pandemic, distance learning, and playing on the court wearing masks. They overcame injuries to advance to the NorCal semifinals last year. In their fourth year, they bounced back from three straight losses to their league rivals to win a state championship, the first state title ever won by an O-High boys basketball team.

Oakland Voices asked the Oakland High School seniors on the boys basketball team about why they chose to attend Oakland High. We also asked what, other than winning a state championship, they were most proud of about their time as a Wildcat. (Read our interviews with the Senior girls basketball team members at Oakland Tech).

Pierre Stevenson, Oakland High Guard

Pierre Stevenson. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Pierre chose O-High: “The history behind here. I knew that Damian Lillard went here. I knew I wouldn’t get into Tech because of my grades, so O-High, I felt like, was a good place to turn it around and be able to play basketball.”

What Pierre is most proud of: “Most proud of, I would say, keeping my grades up, because in order to play basketball you gotta have good grades, make sure you stay above 3.0 [GPA]. I’ve managed to be like that for four years. That’s been my biggest accomplishment outside of basketball.”

Desmond West, Oakland High Wing

Desmond West. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Desmond chose O-High: “Well, Oakland High chose me and that’s just where I feel like I belong. It was just a match, and that’s where I decided to go.”

What Desmond is most proud of: “I think just being able to maintain being a decent student, a decent person just overall. You know, just being able to say that I came from Oakland High. I’m a pretty active member in the community. I just feel like that’s a pretty good thing to say I’ve done.”

Money Williams, Oakland High Guard

Money Williams. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Money chose O-High: “First, I was a football player. Oakland High is a good school for football. I was planning on going to Mack (McClymonds), but my mom didn’t want me to go there, so Oakland High was my best option. Then I met Coach Watkins and I just got on the basketball court and it felt good. I felt at home and I just stuck to basketball.”

What Money is most proud of: “Student athlete, but student [comes] first. Just keeping my grades up. Putting less stress on my family, my coaches, and my team, and just sticking to the coaches, sticking to the formula, you know, being patient, waiting my time, and trusting the process.”

Josh Clark, Oakland High Guard

Josh Clark. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Josh chose O-High: “I chose O-High because the moment I came on campus and I saw the coaches and everybody here, they welcomed me like I was part of they family and they always embraced me.”

What Josh is most proud of: “I’m most proud of having a 4.0 [GPA] all four years of being here.”

Te’Shawn Gamble, Oakland High Guard

Te’Shawn Gamble. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Te’Shawn chose O-High: “I chose O-High because it was more like a family bonding thing, and they took me in as one of their own. I just like how that stood out to me.”

What Te’Shawn is most proud of: “Establishing a lot of connections with my peers and growing together, like as teenagers and young men, becoming who we are today.”

Jaylon King, Oakland High Center

Jaylon King. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Jaylon chose O-High: “I chose Oakland High because at first I was seeking out a better education for myself because back at my old school, it wasn’t providing me anything… I knew that if I went to college, and had been stuck learning the same stuff, I wouldn’t make it that far. As I was moving out here [from Stockton], my options were Oakland High, Berkeley, and Fremont, and I chose Oakland High because it just seemed better. I had a good feeling about it.”

What Jaylon is most proud of: “One thing I’m proud of about Oakland High is that it’s very cultural there, you know it’s not so much of one race, everybody get along and stuff.”

Jimon Campbell, Oakland High Guard

Jimon Campbell. Photo by Tony Daquipa.

Why Jimon chose O-High: “I didn’t go my freshman through sophomore year, but at the end of my junior year I went because I felt like it was the best option. It was never always about basketball. I got family and a lot of people here who look after me, from the administrators to the coaches.”

What Jimon is most proud of: “Building the bonds that I have with a lot of people here. I feel like I touched base with everybody and I came out my comfort zone.”

Author Profile

Tony Daquipa is a dad, essential bureaucrat, photographer, urban cyclist, union thug, wannabe stonemason, karaoke diva, grumpy old man, storyteller, and preserver of history.

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