Years before he arrived in Santa Monica as a varsity boys basketball coach, Chad Beeten knew about Crossroads School.

It was the campus with a history of success on the hardwood. It was the place where Baron Davis and Austin Croshere began their journeys to the NBA. It was the program that won four section championships in six seasons starting in 1996.

“They were very well-known from a basketball standpoint back then,” said Beeten, who was coaching in Northern California in the late 1990s. “I know their previous success, and hopefully we’re going to build upon what they’ve done recently.”

Beeten was hired to do exactly that, filling the void left by longtime Roadrunners coach Daryl Roper.

He arrives at the Santa Monica private school after a successful stint in Las Vegas, where he guided Clark High School to three Nevada state titles. His teams were 132-44 overall in six seasons, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Beeten said he chose Crossroads for its location in Southern California, a hotbed for basketball talent, as well as for its strong academic reputation and supportive administration.

“I’ve been looking for an opportunity like this, and if I was going to leave Las Vegas there were only a few areas I’d want to go,” he said. “I thought the Crossroads opportunity is a great situation. We’re on the ground floor of something really good.”

Beeten is hoping to help the Roadrunners improve on the 12-17 record they posted last season, when they reached the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals in Division 4A. Their campaign was highlighted by an upset of city rival Santa Monica, the eventual section champion in Division 1A.

Graduation took its toll on Beeten’s incoming roster, which is missing an outstanding senior class that included three college prospects in Nicky Shapiro (Tufts), Henry Ward (Grinnell) and Ethan Zakarin (Kenyon).

“There’s a good amount of talent, but we’re going to be very young,” he said, adding that Anthony Davis remains on staff as an assistant coach. “It’s pretty early to see what level we’ll be at, and we’re just doing basic fundamentals. But there’s some good young talent.”

Originally from the East Coast, Beeten played college basketball at George Washington University for one year before transferring to Goucher College in Baltimore, where he continued his athletic career while studying communications.

Beeten eventually made it out to California to coach the Oakland Soldiers, a Bay Area-based club team that claims eventual NBA players LeBron James, Chauncey Billups, Drew Gooden and Brandon Jennings as alumni.

He then found his way to Sullivan County Community College in New York, where he coached the men’s basketball team, before pursuing his real estate career in Las Vegas.

Now, Beeten is excited to coach full-time and develop a basketball pipeline at Crossroads down to the middle school level.

“I’m always focused on defense, and offensively we want to be balanced,” he said. “We want to be up-tempo when we have opportunities, but we don’t want to run and gun. We have to figure out what our talent is and fit how we’re going to play to that talent.”

jeff@smdp.com

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