All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year: Grand season draws St. Francis' Leufroy deserved recognition

Junior guard helped Golden Knights reach CIF Southern Section Division III-A title contest.

March 27, 2014|By Charles Rich,
  • St. Francis High junior guard Kyle Leufroy is this year's All-Area Boys' Basketball Player of the Year. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
St. Francis High junior guard Kyle Leufroy is this year's…

Relatively unknown, Kyle Leufroy showed up on the doorstep of the St. Francis High gymnasium seeking an opportunity.

Leufroy transferred to St. Francis in 2012 from La Salle High in Pasadena with an eye on earning a spot on the up-and-coming St. Francis basketball team that had made some lengthy strides and appeared on the brink of being a player for a CIF Southern Section postseason berth. With just a year of junior varsity experience to Leufroy’s credit, he knew he needed to reinvent himself in order to compete on the varsity stage.

After a few practice sessions, St. Francis co-Coaches Ray O’Brien and Jeff Stephens realized Leufroy had enormous potential and, more importantly, could be a focal point for the Golden Knights for the next several seasons.

“He had no varsity experience and the speed at the varsity level is just so much quicker,” O’Brien said. “Jeff and I could see him adjusting very quickly and learning, though he did have some setbacks.


“We could see him continuing to improve his game on offense and defense. He kept learning and putting in extra hours to get better. We saw some things right there that you just can’t coach.”

Leufroy enjoyed a successful sophomore season in 2012-13 with the Golden Knights before registering a bench mark junior campaign. St. Francis advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship game for the first time in program history before reaching the second round of the state playoffs.

With Leufroy leading the charge, along with a talented supporting cast, St. Francis turned the corner and made a name for itself around Southern California. No longer were the Golden Knights a doormat in the rugged Mission League or a postseason pushover.

Leufroy, a guard, had helped elevate the program and provide it with instant credibility.

“I figured I could come to St. Francis and help make the program that much stronger,” Leufroy said. “I knew St. Francis was a perfect place for me to go to because it’s in a great league, there’s lots of exposure and they always seem to play good teams.

“I knew a couple of the players already and the coaches want to always work with you to make you better.”

In no time, Leufroy began to flourish.

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