This week marked a bittersweet return to the basketball court for incoming senior Ajon Efferson.
The guard, who transferred to Gardena Serra after helping the Bulldogs to a CIF Southern Section Division III-AAA championship in the spring of 2012, played his first summer league action with Pasadena this week.
“I’m back at PHS because I have some family issues and it’s best for my family to be here,” said Efferson while taking part in this week’s Maranatha High Summer Block Party Tournament. “I was kind of forced to move, again because of family issues.”
Efferson confirmed that he enrolled at Pasadena High late in the spring semester and, despite a family crisis, is somewhat comfortable with his surroundings.
“I came back to Pasadena with six weeks of school left,” Efferson said. “The good thing about PHS is that this school is like a second home for me.”
One of the first people to welcome back Efferson was new Pasadena boys’ basketball Coach Tony Brooks, who is still waiting for official confirmation from the Pasadena Unified School District on his hiring.
Brooks was an assistant under coach Tim Tucker during Efferson’s sophomore year of 2011-2012.
“How much more happy can a coach be when you’re getting back a player who carries a 3.85 [grade-point average], listens to your coaching style and is a hard-worker?” Brooks said of Efferson. “We’re excited to have Ajon back.”
When asked about the circumstances of Efferson’s return, Brooks did not elaborate.
“I know Ajon has transferred a number of times, but those reasons are personal reasons, reasons that involved him and his family and I’m not going to comment on them,” Brooks said. “I will say he’s a good kid and he’s not looking to jump between schools.”
Efferson came to Pasadena before his sophomore season as a transfer from Taft of Woodland Hills and averaged 15 points and six assists per game in earning a Pacific League second-team selection.
Efferson was part of a Bulldogs squad that finished 27-7, won a then eighth straight Pacific League boys’ basketball title, a Division III-AAA crown and advanced to the third round of the CIF State Division III playoffs.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2011-2012 school year, Efferson transferred to Serra and helped the Cavaliers to a 26-7 record, a CIF-SS Division IV-A championship victory over La Verne Lutheran and a CIF State Division IV second-round playoff game.
“I had to move then for financial reasons. It wasn’t planned,” Efferson said of heading to Serra. “The coaches and players understood then. They understand now, too.”
Efferson joins a Bulldogs squad with four returning seniors.
“We’re definitely a different team than two years ago, but we have guys here who just want to learn,” Efferson said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and I’ve got to be a leader.”