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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Mission Viejo Diablos--(Nov. 26, 2000)

The "official' high school season in Southern California begins tomorrow, November 27, when teams can schedule their first regular games.  And some of the more traditional (e.g., newspaper) media have been printing and publishing league and team profiles too, which is a very good thing, because it saves us a ton of time in researching our own previews and profiles. So with thanks to the OC Register (which did a short preview of the South Coast League boys' and girls teams today), here's our own SoCalHoops preview of the South Coast League teams.   Rather than do this as one solid "league" profile though, we've broken the reviews down team by team, in to separate reports.  

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Mission Viejo Diablos
Division I-A
Head Coach: Jeff Cunningham
Fourth season, 32-49
Overall: 12-17; League 3-7 (5th Place)
First Round Playoff loss (Arlington 82-69)

1999-2000 South Coast League
Final Standings

Team League Overall
El Toro 10-0 24-5
Capistrano Valley 7-3 17-9
San Clemente 5-5 14-10
Trabuco Hills 5-5 13-13
Mission Viejo 3-17 12-17
Dana Hills 0-10 6-20

Pegged for fourth place finish in league this season by coaches in the league, according to a preview of the league published in the OC Register (11/26/00), the Diablos certainly have some height and talent in the frontcourt this year, and if Coach Cunningham can get some consistency out of his big guys, and develop some backcourt shooting, Mission Viejo might be able to finish better than last year's 5th place, and even higher than as predicted by the coaches.  

2000-2001 Mission Viejo
Partial Roster

Travis Neisen   6'-7" Jr F
Matt Cole   6'-4" Sr. F/C
Mykel Valentine   5'-8" Sr. PG
Greg Villanueva   5'-11" Sr. G
Erik Engstrom   6'-7" Jr. C
Brandon Moses   6'-2" Sr. G/F
Eddie Miller   6'-3" Sr. F

2000-2001 Mission Viejo

Date Opponent
Nov. 27-Dec 2 Mission Viejo Tournament
Dec. 6 @Sonora
Dec. 12016 @Anaheim Conv. Center Tourn.
Dec. 19-22 @Hawaii Tournanment
Jan 3 Aliso Nigue
Jan 5 @Corona del Mar
Jan 10 @*Dana Hills
Jan 12 @*Capistrano Valley
Jan 17 *Trabuco Hills
Jan 19 *El Toro
Jan 22 *San Clemente
Jan 24 *Dana Hills
Jan 26 *Capistrano Valley
Feb 2 @*Trabuco Hills
Feb 6 @*El Toro
Feb 8 @*San Clemente

Travis Niesen, who averaged 13.5 ppg and 6 rpg, is a strong, tough forward who has good footwork but who will need to work on his hands and catching the ball.  He's got good perimeter skills, but will have to also control his tendency to want to take all of the team's offense through himself.  Travis played during the summer with the High Five America team and then played in the Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Classic with Pump N Run and more recently was seen at the Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Showcase.  Travis is a big-bodied kid, sort of reminiscent of a Casey Jacobsen type of player (which is not surprising since he used to work out with Casey and his younger brother at Plyo-City from what we're told).  Travis was selected All-League last season, and we'd expect the same this season.  Joining him in the front court will be Erik Engstrom, another 6'-7" junior, and the two will alternate at the post, although Travis' game seems better suited to the three spot.  Both are capable rebounders.    Matt Cole averaged 10.8 ppg, while the backcourt will have Mykel Valentine and Greg Villanueva in additino to newcomers Brandon Moses and Eddie Miller on the wings.

Scheduling wise, Mission Viejo is going to be mostly local with the exception of a trip to Hawaii from December 19-22 (and we can't be sure if the Diablos are being ambitious and scheduling themselves into the presitgious Iolani Classic, or the more sedate Lahainaluna tournament, or something else).  The Diablos will host their own tournament starting Monday, November 27 through December 2, then they'll play at the Anaheim Convention Center Tournament before leaving for Hawaii.  Like El Toro, they'll take a complete break between Christmas and New Year's, and start up again on January 3 for a non-league contest against Aliso Niguel, then other against Corona del Mar, and finally the league season will start on January 10. 

 The Swish Award
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