With Berkeley High headed for rebuilding seasons in both football and boys’ basketball, the last thing the Yellowjackets needed was to lose two veteran players. But that’s exactly what has happened, as rising seniors Mohammed Nitoto and Chevallier Patterson will transfer to McClymonds for the next school year.
Both Nitoto and Patterson were expected to play key roles on both the football and basketball teams next season. Nitoto was the returning starter at quarterback on the gridiron and was in the running for the point guard’s slot on the court, while Patterson was the ’Jackets’ number-one receiving threat and a key wingman, respectively.
According to Nitoto, changes in the athletic department and football staff were the impetus for his move, which he has planned since before the school year ended. He hopes to earn a college scholarship, and feels the program at McClymonds will help him get there.
“The football coach at Mack (Alonzo Carter) has a lot of pull with scouts,” he said. “He sent like 10 kids to college on scholarship last year. That’s more than Berkeley has had in the last five years put together.”
Several of the veteran players on the Berkeley football team were unhappy with the selection of former junior varsity coach Matt Bissell as next year’s head coach. Gary Weaver decided not to return next year after two years of coaching the ’Jackets.
“My father felt like Bissell didn’t know what he was doing, especially when he hired a bunch of science teachers as assistants at first,” Nitoto said.
Bissell did not return the Daily Planet’s phone calls yesterday.
Nitoto said his father actually wanted to send him to McClymonds since his freshman year, but “I didn’t want to lose my friends at Berkeley.” But when it was apparent that Bissell was going to be the head coach next season, Mohammed finally agreed that transferring would be the best thing.
“It’s a smaller school, so the teachers will be able to give me more help to get my grades squared away,” he said.
Patterson said smaller classes was the biggest reason he will move to Mack. He said he had trouble getting into advanced placement classes at Berkeley, which has been a common complaint among minority students at BHS.
“If it was just about sports, I probably would have stayed,” Patterson said. “If you compare Mack and Berkeley, Mack is better for getting into college, sports or not.”