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Boys' basketball: A new era begins at Notre Dame

April 9, 2012 |  5:36 am

It was a bold, unconventional choice to select Vince Oliver to become basketball coach at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

He had been a varsity assistant for one season and a head freshman coach for one season, both at Loyola.

“I’m so excited,” Oliver said. “They definitely stepped out and took a risk. I think it’s good. I’ve got a lot of energy, and I want to build something. I’m only 26, but I’ve been coaching since I was 16.”

Oliver, who played on two Southern Section championship teams at Loyola and spent four years playing at UC Davis, received a strong endorsement from Loyola Coach Jamal Adams.

“There is always a learning curve, but he’s a great student of the game and a strong communicator,” Adams said. “He’s very enthusiastic and will have a clear vision of what he wants.”

Oliver will take over a program that hasn’t been lacking in talent but has struggled in keeping its best players from leaving.

“It’s just crazy,” he said. “It’s different than when I played. Unfortunately, the sense of loyalty isn’t like it used to be. You give them a good product, they’re more likely to stick around.”

Oliver will face a strong challenge in a Mission League loaded with top teams and top coaches. Of course, he's looking forward to facing Loyola and his mentor, Adams.

"He knows I'm going after him," he said.

Oliver will begin after Notre Dame finishes its spring break this week.

-- Eric Sondheimer