back on four years of starting for the Vikings.
The 6-foot-4 point guard, whose vertical leap on dunks and blocked shots is noticeably higher this year, remains among an increasingly rare breed of athlete: he has stayed home to play all four years for his neighborhood public high school, eschewing the opportunity to transfer to another school in search of greener pastures.
The local-boy-who-made-good, a Harvard commit, always wanted to play for the school where his older sisters, Ryan, now a Williams College graduate, and Clare, a senior at MIT, starred in volleyball for the Vikings. The two have gone on to play their sport in college. Reed is going to join them back East next fall.
“It’s so close by,” says the just-showered senior captain, rushing back to the La Jolla campus for an interview after a team practice earlier in the day over the winter break. “Since the ninth grade, I always had the desire to play here and help turn the basketball program around.
“We came close last year,” he says, recalling Coach Paul Baranowski’s squad’s advance into the CIF Division 2 title game, where they fell. “I’m optimistic. Hopefully, this year we can do it.”
The red-and-black feature 6-foot-5 junior Charlie Gal, a burly front court man who is contributing heavily underneath the basket, as well as a more seasoned Quinn Rawdin, a 6-foot-2 lefty shooting guard opposite Farley. Both Gal and Rawdin have sophomore seasons as experience under their belts.
In addition, in Baranowski’s team-oriented scheme, seniors Nick Hammel and Daniel McColl return from last year’s contingent to fortify the wing and post positions.
Farley, long ago, embraced his coach’s role for him as the glue and point guard who will involve the others in the offense early in the game to get the La Jolla engine hitting on all cylinders. This, despite the 18-year-old’s obvious talents that could propel him individually to high scoring totals in every game: he has the quick step to drive to the basket, he can shoot from beyond the three-point arc effectively, and when the game opens up, he can slam the ball home, even in traffic.
“From the beginning of the game, 35 seconds (on the shot clock) is a long time,” he says. “I want to try to give everyone a touch, whether a rebound or a pass (or a shot), before getting myself going.”
“This year I haven’t had to do as much of the scoring. It’s different. Charlie is doing so much underneath. He and McColl are doing so much down there. Quinn—I think he realizes more and more that if he can be more than a catch-and-shoot player, he can drive aggressively to the basket” (and open things up for the offense).
Pointing to his outgoing, gregarious personality, Farley holds a unique relationship with referees and other adults, including, sometimes, opposing coaches. After the recent Hilltop Invitational Tournament, in which he was named to the all-tournament team, Reed and his parents, Dan and Kara, spoke with host coach Luke Kelley following the Vikings’ final game, exchanging well wishes between the two programs.
During his freshman season, often his talks with officials had to do with calls he didn’t agree with. He stills talks to referees during games, but often these encounters come off more as collegial interchanges in which the refs patiently, without rancor on their faces, explain to Reed how the play in question unfolded from their point of view.
Farley, carrying a 4.8-grade point average this year, continues pursuing his interest in political science. He is taking a political science course on campus for college credit through Mesa College. “I’m probably going to go into a government major at Harvard. That’s what they do for political science.”
What interests him is what he calls political psychology: “How people think about politics. How does the public react to the way the (office holder) presents themselves.
“Definitely, political science as a whole is the study of how people can gain the power to have influence. What motivates a candidate to do that? How the brain works…”.
His academic interest could lead him to work on campaigns or in some other facet of politics. He really doesn’t know at this point, and leaves that open, while he enjoys studying things like Aristotle’s six styles of government. “One (topic) we’ve talked about is, there are different kinds of public policy and how they appeal to people. For example, the elite approach starts from the top, while the class approach starts from the grassroots.”
Reed has grown into his now size 16 sneakers well over his four years of matriculation at the seaside campus. This year he hopes to put together a complete, successful season individually, something that has escaped him in his first three years. As a freshman, he was a brash, hot-headed youngster who pulled his jersey top up over his head several times after fouling out during the season.
In his sophomore year, he delivered a thunderous dunk in the last minute to defeat crosstown rival Bishop’s in their annual non-league grudge match, then immediately after badly sprained his ankle and missed seven straight games, disastrous for the team’s hopes in the league.
Last year, as a junior, he suffered through an extended shooting slump, when he could hardly buy a basket outside after concentrating so much on involving his teammates in the offense.
This season, with new additions Jacob Ohara, a fleet 6-foot junior guard, and Garrett Brown, a 6-foot-2 forward who returned to basketball for his senior year after focusing on baseball his junior year, the Vikings show their usual disciplined flow under Baranowski, now in his fifth year as LJHS head coach (36th year overall).
Farley and Gal shared scoring leadership through the first 11 games, in which La Jolla lost only one, playing in the Hilltop and Grossmont annual tournaments, Farley at 17.3 points per game, Gal 16.8. Gal was also grabbing a stellar 13.4 rebounds a game.
Farley’s stat line was impressive: in addition to his points, he led the team with 5.9 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game, along with 6.7 rebounds, second only to Gal in that department. McColl grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game, with 7.3 points a game, third behind Gal and Farley.
Hammel and Rawdin were both contributing a steady 5.6 points a game, with Nick also gathering 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals. Rawdin had 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.6 rebounds.
Farley, the grizzled veteran of the squad, serves as a kind of a second coach on the floor for Baranowski. He is the only representative sent to the pregame captain’s meeting for La Jolla. He also jumps center, and has won just about all of those matchups to start off the game. Sometimes opponents who haven’t played him before are startled when he approaches from behind and slaps their shot attempt off the backboard.
Inevitably, attention from the crowd moves toward the future Crimson wearer. At one of only two games in front of the home crowd in December, Farley, dribbling at the point, faked a defender so badly that the player stumbled and fell, drawing hoots from the supportive LJHS student section.
Though he has stayed at La Jolla all four years to help build up his alma mater’s basketball program, the springy senior has no problems exhibiting his high-flying skills on spectacular dunks. Often, he’ll get a breakaway advantage on a steal in the backcourt. However, this season, with his vertical leap measurably higher than last season, he is not reticent to try a dunk driving down the lane.
“It’s a mindset I have this season,” he says. “I’m going to attack the rim and try to dunk everything I can.”
Adds Farley, “It’s a shot of energy for the team. It gets the crowd into the game. I don’t do it to bring attention to myself.”
His two secrets to his success? “I have at least one glass of chocolate milk in my pregame meal, or for dinner.” “Also, something that’s different – I listen to country music before games. I like Florida Georgia Line and the Zac Brown Band.”