PHOENIX — Sure, there are similarities between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade teaming up in Miami and their sons transferring to the same California school.
But broaden the scope to see the circumstances that allowed such a union to happen between Zaire Wade, Bronny James and the rest of the transfers joining Sierra Canyon School (Chatsworth, California), a group that some are calling a super team.
In 2017, Sierra Canyon — whose alumni includes Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III and children of celebrities Kevin Hart, Kris Jenner and Jamie Foxx — hired Andre Chevalier to coach its boys basketball program.
At the time, the school was awaiting a crop of new players, four of whom were sons of NBA players: Scotty Pippen Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr., Duane Washington Jr. and Terren Frank (son of Tellis Frank).
Over the next two seasons, Chevalier coached that team to back-to-back state championships.
In that success and style, he gained a reputation among elite recruits and parents. Chevalier is known to treat everyone the same, whether it was the son of a Hall of Famer, a five-star prospect in Cassius Stanley or a player off the bench.
As Zaire Wade said during the NCAA College Basketball Academy event at Grand Canyon University on Tuesday, what attracts parents and players to Chevalier is his lack of favoritism.
“He doesn’t care who you are,” Wade said. “He’s gonna get on you. He’s gonna push you, and make you better. I feel like that’s what everybody likes about him. Some coaches may soften up to certain players, but he doesn’t.”
It’s difficult to build a high school team for both the present and future. It’s not the NBA or college, where a respectable organization can continue to attract stars. In all but the top prep schools, many players’ options are limited by where they live. If you have a star, enjoy him for those four years and hope a different elite athlete in your area noticed.
But with the success Chevalier had, parents took notice.
Wade, with one more year in high school, is transferring from American Heritage (Plantation, Florida) to play with his “little bro” Bronny.
Then, Ziaire Williams and Brandon “BJ” Boston Jr. announced they will follow.
With the exception of Frank, all of Chevalier’s initial crop of NBA sons have graduated. But now his team is loaded once again.
In addition to Wade, James, Williams, Boston and Frank, the Trailblazers also boast five-star 2022 shooting guard Amari Bailey.
“Everyone’s talking about me and Bronny, but we have a great group of guys,” Wade said.
Like when the elder Wade and James teamed up in Miami, the “super team” moniker has been bestowed by observers around the country.
Dwyane has given his son advice on how to handle the inevitable pressure that comes with that label. After all, he and James went through a similar situation when they teamed up with Chris Bosh to make four NBA Finals appearances and win two championships from 2010 to 2014.
“He just told me, be ready, because everyone’s coming after our team, since everyone’s calling it a super team,” Wade said. “He kind of compared it to the Warriors. The Warriors get everybody’s best night, so we’re going to get everybody’s best night, but that’s what you gotta do to be great.”
Dwyane also talked to him about one of the main reasons he might want to join an elite cast at Sierra Canyon.
“If you ever played a game of basketball and you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t play anymore,” Zaire Wade said. “Go out there, have fun. Obviously compete, but it’s all about having fun.”