socalogo.gif (8739 bytes)
SoCalHoops HS Top 20
Division V-AA--
(Revised Dec. 17, 2000)

socalogominitop20.gif (2380 bytes)Preseason Southern Section D-VAA Top 10 (revised Dec. 17, 2000)
1 Verbum Dei The Eagles now have Richard Chaney (6'-7" Jr. G/F) (formerly at Compton Centennial), Mike Lay (5'-9" Sr. PG), DeShalen Barber (6'-3" Jr. G), Ameer Mouhammed (6'-0" Jr. G), DeAngelo Bijore (6'-0" Jr. G), Justin Martin (5'-11" Sr. G), Kendall Oliver (6'-5" Jr. G/F), Deon Marcus (6'-6" Jr. F), David Guerrero (6'-5" Jr. F), Michael Bell (6'-2" So. G), Martin Starr (6'-7" Jr. F). . .and if they bring back James Muhammed, aka James Matthews (6'-8" Jr. F),  who transferred from Palisades, watch out. . . this team might as well be wearing a bullseye on its collective back this year because every team in the division looking to knock them off.  There probably isn't a deeper bench with more overall athleticism in the division, and they will be the team to beat. 
2 Calvary Chapel Downey The Grizzlies'  Tim Drisdom, CIF D-VAA Player of the Year in 99-00,  is the marquee player again this year and he's done a tremendous job in the preseason, averaging nearly a triple double over the course of two tournaments.   CCD lost to St. Anthony last season in the D-VAA finals, and will now have to contend with Verbum Dei, Serra, and several other teams who have improved over the course of the year. New coach Mark Berokoff (formerly at Heritage Christian) is getting good production from David Grace, DeShon Shuler, Matt Henderson, Jon James, McKenna James, Anthony Robinson, Marcellous Glasper and David Banuelos, they've had some early preseason wins, including a big win over Pacific Hills
3 Serra The Cavaliers of Serra may not be as deep as most believe, and a look at their scoring in the preseason indicates that most of it has come from Eugene Jeter (5'-8" Jr. PG), but even he has not had the dominant kind of scoring that coach Dwan Hurt has been accustomed to from players like the since-graduated Aerick Sanders (6'-10" C, now at SDSU) or Doyle Coyle.  Even without the depth of prior teams though, Serra has had some good early season wins. With guys like Prince, Asbury, Wade, Williams, McNeil, Bates and Hemphill in the lineup, the early preseason has been a time to work out the bugs. 
4 Buckley Coach Dan Haasch's Griffins' are led by returning All-CIF players Colin Ward Henninger (6'-5" Sr. G/F) and David Gale (6'-1" Jr. PG), who between them are averaging 40+ ppg. As a team Buckley is averaging more than 82 ppg (over the first 8 games),  with scoring coming from just about everywhere:  Alex Clancy (6'-0" Sr. SG) and Matt Wolfe (6'-0" Sr. G) are three-point specialists, and jet-quick Royal Weaver (6'-0"  Sr. G) can drive and pull up or hit the three.  Murali Sivalingham (6'-5" Sr. F), Steve Broukhim (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF) and Jake Scannell (6'-4" Sr. F) can shoot inside and provide good rebounding, as does newcomer Tristan Seisa (6'-1" So. G/F). Others include Nick Brar, Brian Lalazarian, Albert Snaidero, and Ben Keywanfar.
5 Pacific Hills Coach John Bobich has left for San Pedro, but the Bruins return Amani Daanish (6'-7" Sr. F) and Amahl Amedu (6'-0" Jr. G), and they've stepped into the lead roles this season.  Pac Hills lost four starters to graduation as well as their coach, but they've gained some new players, including a Yugoslav shooter, Redjovoni, who has shown some promise and played well in the preseason, as have returnees Justin Gleitman, William Hill and Aaron Harris, all of whom saw limited time last season. PH's early preseason results have been uneven, but they have shown promise, even in losing to teams like Cabrillo, CC Downey, Millikan and Mayfair.  Of course they've they've also picked up some nice wins too, including beating Lakewood.  Delphic League competition will not be easy against teams like Crossroads, Campbell Hall and others, but PH has a way of somehow finishing at or near the top.
6 Yeshiva Coach Ed Gelb's YULA Panthers finished third in Liberty League last season, but they received an early Hannukah present when All-CIF senior guard Abey Malkin (6'-0" Sr. G) showed up this fall after transferring from Valley Torah.   YULA hasn't wasted any time showing everyone that they will contend for a league title, and will also make some noise in the playoffs.  Along with Malkin, seniors Kenny Pollack, Adi Issacs, Seth Dorfman and Issac Gabbai also provide the core nucleus of a team which last season went 14-8 but which will do much better this year. 
7 Chadwick Coach Mykol Lewis' Dolphins are led by seniors Mike Reich (6'-5" Sr. SG/SF) who is averaging 20+ ppg and Peter McCaslin (6'-0" Sr. G) the Dolphins have dropped some early season games to tougher schools in higher divisions, but they still have managed to win their share of tournament games too with an incomplete roster.  Matt Fournier (5'-7" So. PG), Aaron Gleason (5'-8" Sr. G) Chris Radenski (6'-1" So. F), Ethan Smith (6'-3" Sr. C), Tom Crow (6'-0" Sr. F) Alexes Nikolopolos (6'-2" Jr. F) and Wes Putnam (6'-1" So. F) will all be called on at times to produce.
8 Ribet The Fighting Frogs have been playing well in the early preseason, and four of their five starters have been routinely scoring in double figures in most games.  This is an entirely new group from last year, Ribet is led this year by freshman Thomas Woods, sophomore Yancy Clark.  Guards Garrick Gaines and Shomar Thomas have also been playing well in the early preseason, and with some good wins, Ribet could be a force again this season in a very competitive D-VAA race.
9 St. Anthony Defending Southern Section V-AA Champions, St. Anthony has not had nearly the success this year that they had last season, and they've lost a lot in the early preseason.  Jay Arizabal (6'-4" Sr. F), Lauren Brown (6'-1" Jr. G) and Alan Cerino (5'-8" Sr. G) are the returning core from last season's team.   The Saints have struggled, losing to Chadwick, Lakewood, Fullerton, and a few others, but have picked up some good wins too. But records aren't everything, and last season they finished 16-8 at the end of the regular season, and no one realizes more than coach Joe Luyben does what a 5 game winning-streak can can accomplish if the timing is right.
10 Bell Jeff The Bell-Jeff Guards lost their most productive post player Carlos Arroyo to graduation, but Coach Eli Essa returns 5 of 8 top players from last season, including prolific scorer Casey Markovic (6'-5" Sr. SG) who is averaging 20+ ppg in the early preseason.  Joining him is Tyler Kealey (5'-10" Jr. G) who is averaging about 8 assists per game, and Romel Cabrera (5'-8" Jr. G), a speedy point guard.   Chris Chavez (6'-2" Jr. F), Ryan Shinneman-Johnson (6'-6" Jr. F) Matt Natoranni (6'-3" Jr. F) and Jack Rooks (6'-6" Jr. F) provide presence in the paint as well. Tony Essa (6'-0" Jr. G), Mike Argento (6'-0" Jr. G) and Hardeep Sidhu (5'-9 Jr.G) also give some depth off the bench.
11 Kilpatrick Assuming everyone is staying for the entire season (not a given with a team which is under the jurisdiction of the California Youth Authority), this group may not always play together, but they have some excellent talent starting with a guy who, talent-wise is still one of the top West Coast point guards, Keilon Fortune (6'-1" Sr. PG). Keilon was formerly at Compton Dominguez throwing lobs to his buddy Tyson Chandler before he wound up in Malibu.  This is a very athletic, tough team which is likely to give other teams a lot of trouble.  A lot of the other names on this team will not be recognizable, guys like Don Lacoste, Charlie Taylor, Adrian Ezell,   Javier Dena, Donald Johnson, Terrance Lewis, Ronald Hendrix, but they can play, and if they learn to play together, this could be a very hard team to beat with a frontline that goes 6'-7", 6'-7", 6'-5", 6'-5".

  Western Christian

Brad Meister (6'-76" Sr. F) and Shawn Lokar (6'-4" Sr. G/F) have been providing much of the offense for Western Christian, and this could be a team that will surprise more than a few this season.  The Lancers have had mixed results, winning about half their early preseason games, but they will likely contend for the Christian League title in January. Others returning include Sean Chin and Ethan Chin, Brandon Lim and Chris Forsberg along with Blake Allison (6'-4" Jr. F). 
13 Desert Desert is a team that most people won't hear a lot about until it's time for the playoffs. The team plays at Edwards AFB and most of the students are military kids.  They will be led by Sidney Melvin (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF) who has excellent hops and by other returners like Daniel Hill (5'-10" Jr. G), Eugene Hutchinson (6'-1" Jr. F), Anthony Bernard (6'-5" Jr. F), and newcomer Thomas Jones. If you can't get news from the high desert, better go see them if you're going to play them.
14 Oakwood Nick Mark (6'-8" Sr. F/C) and Stan Musgrave (6'-4" Sr. PF), along with experienced point guard Eric Noble have brought Oakwood back from the dead. . . dead last that is, and they should finish much better than in any year in recent memory, maybe as good as the Gorillas have ever managed to finish since UCLA's Mitchell Butler left.
15 Pasadena Poly Coach Brad Hall returns after a one-year sabbatical and Marshall Duncan (6'-0" Sr. G) skipped football season to concentrate on basketball. Poly returns Brett Nungesser (6'-4" Sr. F) and Kirk Herald (6'-6" Sr. F) as well as Ini Archibong (6'-2" Sr. G).  But the biggest surprise of the season thus far has been the scoring from newcomer Matt Sargeant (6'-4" Fr. G/F) who is averaging more than 20 ppg.  Poly has had mixed overall results from a won-loss point of view, but as everyone knows, it's not how you start the year, it's how you finish that's important. 
16 Holy Martyrs The Armens return just everyone from last year's team, and they are older and playing much better than last year. How they do when Liberty League competition begins will be the true test thoguh. In the preseason Holy Martyrs won the Bishop Diego-Laguna Blanca Tournament, and they will look to give some other small school teams problems later this month at the Santa Maria tournament. While they haven't managed to generate much offense, the Armens somehow manage to keep winning. Karnig Dukmajian, Armen Rostamian, Paul Bourgian and Hagop Drakjian seem to be the most consistent scorers.
17 Bishop Diego The Cardinals have been getting good preseason results from Pat Minehan (5'-11" Jr. G) and Matt Korsan (6'-3" Sr. F) along with Jason Renick (5'-10" Sr. G) and several other newcomers.  While they didn't win their own tournament, they've won quite a few games, and have gotten good experience agaisnt some larger enrollment schools too.  While they don't have Jamie Sanchez, a prolific scorer who graduated, the Cardinals will still be a factor this year.
18 Campbell Hall This team has gone through a lot of losses in the preseason, but both Derrick Williams, Devaugh Nixion, and Robert Locke give the team some hope that they may make a dent in the Delphic League this year and through that, gain some valuable experience which will help them come playoff time. New coach, a lot of the older players graduated, this is a rebuilding year. Ranked more on promise and potential.
19 Rolling Hills Prep The Huskies have moved up into D-VAA due to rising enrollment, and they have been getting some decent results in early season tournament and non-league game play from newcomers like Curtis Allen, Jason Daley, and Alex Elliot (6'-7" Jr. F/C) who appears to be one of the few returning players.  RHP reportedly also received a transfer over the summer from Pacific Hills' Sinqua Walls, but we haven't seen his name in the boxes and don't know if he's with the team or not. 
20T Flintridge Prep

The Rebels return 9 players and 3 starters from last year, finished 2nd in the Prep League, and went to the Sweet 16 in the playoffs. Senior starters are Antonio Harrison, Devin Brown, and Brian Strand.  Bryan Young and Matt Lauer provides inside strength and Connor O'Byrne is a three-point specialist. Newcomers Dwight Phelps and Tim Mercer have played well. Flintridge Prep has had mixed results and things will stay tough through the upcoming La Canada Tournament against teams like defending Champions Bishop Montgomery, La Canada, Muir and Pasadena, and following in the Eagle Rock Tournament. Not an easy road, but someone's gotta play all those tough teams. . .

20T Montclair Prep The Mounties' preseason has not been what most anticipated it to be: Tony McFadden (6'-5" Sr. G/F) still has not been cleared to play,  and the CIF Southern Section also declared three highly touted foreign students ineligible to play varsity this season (they will play JV).  The Montclair Prep team has a new coach, Tyrone Fuller, they lost literally everyone from last year's team who saw most of the minutes, including Josiah Johnson (now playing at UCLA), Jesse Bronner, Andre Freeman to graduation, and Will Sheslow who transferred to Chaminade.   The current starters are Derek Daniels (6'-7" Jr. PF) who weighs in at 250+, Baron Abdul-Masoud (6'-0" Fr. PG),  Charlie Kranzdorf (6'-1" Jr. G), Eric Kaufman (6'-0" Sr. G), and Garen Harutunian (6'-3" Sr. F).  Brian Trump (6'-4" Jr. G/F) and Robert Lewis (6'-5" So. F) will come in off the bench along with one or two others. This is a young team that has not had much success yet and time will tell whether they will be able to pull together during league play.

socalogominitop20.gif (2380 bytes)Preseason
Southern Section
Others Not Ranked
(In alphabetical order)

AA Excellence,
Arrowhead Chr
Bethel Christian--Riv
Bloomington Chr
Boys' Republic
Brethren Chr
CC Murietta
Capo Valley Chr
Faith Baptist
Glendale Adventist
Grace Brethren
GH Hillcrest Chr
La Sierra Acad
Laguna Blanca
Le Lycee
Lone Pine
Los Pinos
Lucerne Valley
La Verne Luth
LA Lutheran
New Roads
Ontario Christian
Oxford Acad
Riverside Christian
SG Academy
Santa Clara
SC Christian
Sherman Indian
SB Lutheran
St. Genevieve
St. Margaret's
St. Michael's Prep
Twin Pines
Upland Christian
Valley Torah
Villanova Prep
Woodcrest Christian