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SoCalHoops High School News

Mission Prep Holiday Tournament
Team Profiles; Finals Today--(Dec. 23, 2000)

Ok, so we're a little late with these, but not so late that if you're up in San Luis Obispo, you can't make it over to Mott Gym on the campus of Cal Poly SLO to catch the finals of this tournament.  Here are the team previews from the folks who are organizing the event.

Lathrop South Pasadena Sacramento Valley Bakersfield Foothill
Richmond JFK Artesia Frederick Price Crenshaw
Washington Union Berkeley Notre Dame Sherman Oaks Calvary Temple

Miami Jackson

JW North El Cerrito Mission Prep

Lathrop High School
Mascot: Malamutes
Fairbanks, Alaska
Miles from SLO: 3066
Head Coach: Milo Griffin

Lathrop finished 3rd in the state of Alaska and 2nd in 1999. Last year’s squad finished the season with a 24-4 record and had one player sign with Santa Clara and another sign with University of Alaska Anchorage. Lathrop has some excellent players returning this season, including Cameron Watts at the point guard position with an average of 15 points per game and Norman Edwards, a 6’6" forward who is averaging 17 points per game. Joining these fine seniors are sophomore Ben Wade, junior Paul Robinson and senior Dre Bateman. Lathrop likes to push the ball up and down the court and turn turnovers into quick points.

South Pasadena High School
Mascot: Tigers
Pasadena, CA
Miles from SLO: 200
Head Coach: Ryan Weisenberg

South Pasadena finished the 1999-2000 season with a 17-7 record advancing to the second round of the CIF playoffs. The Tigers have a good core of 6 returnees led by Abe Apraku who averaged a triple double (points, rebounds and assists) last season. Senior center Curtis Crosbie is currently averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Tigers are a fast, athletic and aggressive team that relies on their defense to produce victories. The Tigers are coached by Ryan Weisenberg, who is an alumnus of Cal Poly and the former Junior Varsity coach at Mission Prep.

Valley High School
Sacramento, CA
Miles from SLO: 297
Head Coach: Paul Casey

Valley High School is the defending Delta League Champions. Valley went to the CIF San Joaquin Section Semifinals last season. The only returning starter for Valley is 6’2" senior guard Arthur Vaughn. Key players returning include: 6’3" senior point guard Bernard Seals, 6’4" senior center Olajuwon Wood, 6’2" senior forward Prince Turner, 6’2" senior forward Prince Woodfy, and 6’0" senior guard Fernando Cisneros. Moving up to the varsity from last years Delta League championship sophomore team are guards Julius Johnson, Yoeun Moeun, Adam Gilbert and Langston Revada. Valley is one of the best pressing teams in the Sacramento area and look to bring an up tempo attack to the court each and every night.

Foothill High School
Mascot: Trojans
Bakersfield, CA
Miles from SLO: 142
Head Coach: Tom Adame

The Foothill Trojans of Bakersfield, California are coming off an incredible season. In just three years the Trojans went from 4-22 to 21-14. Last season was highlighted by a Central Section Division II Championship and a birth in the Southern Region State Finals. During the run, the Trojans knocked off #12 in the state Oceanview, and, #2 in the state and #8 in the nation, powerhouse Artesia. Eventually the run ended with a loss to #1 in the state and nation, Compton – Dominguez. With no player taller than 6’4", the Trojans had one of the most outstanding playoff runs of the year. This season, the Trojans only have one starter from last year’s team. However, the players are more determined than ever to have a winning season and a strong playoff run. This year’s team will use every game as a learning situation in order to play at their peak by the end of the season.

John F. Kennedy High School
Mascot: Eagles
Richmond, CA
Miles from SLO: 239
Head Coach: Dave Manson

Under second year head coach David Manson, the resurgent Eagles are trying to recapture the magic of the past. Kennedy was once a Bay Area powerhouse, completing yearly in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) – the precursor to today’s NorCal and State Championship series. Starting the year a respectable 4-1 (as of 12/8/00), the Eagles are off to a good start. Coach Manson stresses discipline, fundamentals and teamwork, and employs an up-tempo style of play triggered by an aggressive man-to-man defense. Leading the way for the Eagles is returning senior first team All-league guard DeAndre Thompson, a versatile 6’2" 200 lb wing man that is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. 6’0" Herman Gipson is a returning senior point guard, honorable mention All-league player that is the Eagles’ floor general, and controls the tempo like a true veteran. 6’5" Zak Slenderbrock is a transfer from Berkeley that adds scoring, rebounding and interior defense to the team, along with frontcourt partner 6’5" 225 lb. Davin Hagans-Dixon. The fact about the Eagles program about which Coach Manson is most proud is that last year, in his first year with Kennedy, the varsity team earned a 3.2 GPA as a team average. Through their "Books Before Ball" study hall, the Eagles enforce a high standard of academic achievement. This year, 10 of the 12 varsity players are on the Honor Roll, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher (with one player earning a 4.3 and another earning a 4.1), and the lowest GPA on the team is a 2.66.

Artesia High School
Mascot: Pioneers
Lakewood, CA
Miles from SLO: 217
Head Coach: Scott Pera

The Artesia Pioneers enter the 2000-01 season with a new coach, thirty-three year old Scott Pera. Pera is taking over one of the most respected and winning programs in Southern California over the past decade. Artesia was ranked #1 in the nation by SLAM magazine last season and spent much of the season at or near the top of many national rankings. Alumni of Artesia basketball include: Jason Kapono (UCLA), Ed O’Bannon (UCLA, NBA) and Charles O’Bannon (UCLA, NBA). This year, the Pioneers will not only have a new coach, but many new faces as well. The lone returning starter from last year’s 32-3 team is a 6’2" senior guard Ryan Reyes. Joining Reyes will be 6’8" junior Ryan Meilleur, 6’3" senior Malcohm Herron, 6’1" senior Tony Roberts and 6’8" junior Ronald Allen.Artesia opened the season at the Pacifica High Tournament and have also entered the Redondo Union Christmas Tournament. Rounding out their non-league schedule are two shootouts versus top teams like Santa Margarita and a possible match up with Compton – Dominguez. This group is certainly not as high profile and as talented as past teams, but look for them to complete very hard with all the competition and to be ready to continue the Artesia tradition come late January and into February.

Price High School
Mascot: Knights
Los Angeles, CA
Miles from SLO: 195
Head Coach: Mike Lynch

Coming off of an outstanding 1999-2000 season where the team went 33-1 and won the California Division 5 State Championships, there could be reason to dwell on the past. This ball club and the staff are excited about the challenge that is before them. After graduating six seniors (three of which were starters), the Knights are much younger than the veteran group of a year ago. This year’s roster will feature two freshman, three sophomores, two juniors and five seniors. Out of the five seniors, only three saw extensive time on last year’s team. Alexander and Andrew Howard being the ones to really keep an eye on.  Jamison was last year's Division V-A CIF Co-Player of the Year, and Chris recently signed with Cal State Fullerton. Many also think that Andrew Howard will be one of the top players in the division this year and the reality is that every player on this very athletic and talented team has a chance to become a standout at one time or another during the season.  Led by Coach Mike Lynch, Price’s team will be focused around defense and quickness. They will not have the overall height that they possessed last season, but they look to be a quicker team overall. Coach Lynch says the teams goal is to become a better ball club as the season goes on. "We are a small school made up of 72 students. At Price High, we do not talk small school basketball, we just talk basketball. Lynch enters his fifth year as head coach and this year’s schedule is the toughest to date.

Crenshaw High School
Mascot: Cougars
Los Angeles, CA
Miles from SLO: 197
Head Coach: Willie West

Even though reputation precedes the Cougars, they are a team that has not had enough game experiences as a team to date. Crenshaw returns three part-time starters from last year’s squad that finished 19-4, won the LA City Championship and advanced to the CIF Southern Region Playoffs. The returning starters are: Marcus Williams, Jamaal Walls and Terrence Jones. Crenshaw opened its doors in February of 1968. During that period Crenshaw has had a tremendous basketball tenure. They have won 25 league titles plus 2 ties for league championships, 8 California Regional Championships, 8 California State Championships (a California record), and 16 Los Angeles City Championships.  Players of the past at Crenshaw to enter the NBA or Major League Baseball include: Marques Johnson (Milwaukee Bucks), Robert Smith (Denver Nuggetts), Darwin Cook (New Jersey Nets), John Williams (Washington Wizards), Stephen Thompson (Sacramento Kings), Darryl Strawberry (New York Yankees), Chris Brown (San Francisco Giants) and current member of the New Jersey Nets, Kevin Ollie.  Current Division One players are Brandon Hawkins (Iowa State), Kevin Bradley (Utah), Alastair Faux (San Diego State), Tommie Johnson and Edmund Harris (Washington State).

Washington Union High School
Mascot: Panthers
Fresno, CA
Miles from SLO: 142
Head Coach: Vonn Webb

The 2000-01 Washington Union High School Panther Basketball team is a far cry different from the teams of the past few years. The Panthers are a very young and inexperienced team that is still trying to find itself. At this point in the season (12/13/00) the Panthers are 6-2 with a 3rd place finish in the Victoria Memorial Classic Tournament in Victoria, Texas and a 1st place finish in the Sanger Kiwanis Tournament. The Panthers have been without the services of a couple of their key players: 6’7", senior forward Keith Sconiers and 6’10" sophomore center Maurice Shaw due to injuries. These two major pieces in the Panthers puzzle won’t be available until the middle of January.  The Panthers are led by 6’1"junior guard Marvin Carraway (24.3 ppg), 5’11" senior guard Antario Macklin (12.0 ppg), 5’9" senior guard Archie Copeland and 6’1" freshman forward Dwight Oneil.  "The Union" has been a program that has experienced a multitude of success over the past few years, having produced 10 college Division 1 players and 1 NBA first round pick (DeShawn Stevenson, Utah Jazz) in the last four years. Heading the Panthers is Coach Vonn Webb who is in his fifth year and has compiled an impressive 116-15 record during his tenure. Webb feels that this is going to be a "rebuilding" year, "We’ll be UGLY in December and January, but it’ll get better…I really like this group of youngsters, it will just take time!"

Berkeley High School
Mascot: Yellowjackets
Berkeley, CA
Miles from SLO: 232
Head Coach: Mike Gragnani

The 2000-01 Berkeley Yellowjackets are a team that features just two returning players from last year’s squad that won 24 games. First year coach Mike Gragnani promises to have the Yellowjackets ready to play and expects maximum effort at all times. Berkeley features a very athletic and aggressive team that will look to make a run at a CIF title. Seniors Ramone Reed, Louis Riordan and Ryan Davis will look from help from six other seniors on this squad. Despite their inexperience, the Yellowjackets will be expected to contend for the ACCAL crown.

Notre Dame High School
Mascot: Knights
Sherman Oaks, CA
Miles from SLO: 182
Head Coach: Rob Dimuro

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame will also be looking for a Christmas Classic title.  Coach Rob DiMuro's team is one of this year's favorites in the Mission League and one of the top teams in Division III of CIF this coming season and they feature Cody Pearson (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF), a solid D-I prospect, Mike Luderer (6'-3" Sr. SG), who averaged more than 20 ppg last season, and another solid college prospect in point guard Ruben Sanchez (6'-0" Sr. PG).  The Knights are off to a fast start to begin the 2000-01 season. They recently captured the Canyon Tournament and currently possess an undefeated record (as of 12/13/00). Last season the Knights finished 22-7 and lost in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III Playoffs.

Calvary Temple High School
Mascot: Warriors
Modesto, CA
Miles from SLO: 222
Head Coach: Sam Harrison

Calvary Temple returns to San Luis Obispo with an entirely new cast of characters. Leading the way for the Warriors are transfers Ezra Kiedrowski a 6’3" guard, LeAndrew Stewart (6’8" center), Aaron Strayhand (6’4" forward) and Brian Spinks (6’3" guard). The Warriors are a state power in the Division Five circles and look to make a run again for a state title.

Miami Jackson Senior High School
Mascot: Generals
Miami, FL
Miles from SLO: 2928
Head Coach: Arty Cabrera

The Generals make the cross-country trip looking for a tournament title. Off to a 5-0 start (as of 12/13/00), the Generals are building off a very successful summer. This summer, Miami Jackson attending a team camp at University of Florida where they finished 6-1 and went undefeated at the Florida International Team Camp. Earlier this season they won the Tip-Off Tournament at South Miami High School. Last year the Generals finished 17-15 and this year they have much higher hopes. They want to play for a state championship come March. Leading the way for the Generals is Reinaldo Jean-Charles who is averaging 17 ppg. Last season Jean-Charles led the state of Florida with 93 three pointers made. Other top players for the Generals include: 6’4" forward Leon Woodstock, 6’7" center Jabbar Lightborne, 6’7" forward Jacob Jackson and 5’5" guard Rashard Williamston. The Generals are one of the most athletic teams in Florida. They feature a full court man-to-man pressure defense. They are known for their hard aggressive play and up tempo style. The Generals are currently ranked #8 in the state of Florida.

JW North High School
Mascot: Huskies
Riverside, CA
Miles from SLO: 251
Head Coach: Mike Bartee

JW North is coming off a season where they finished 19-6 and lost in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The Huskies are led by 5’10 senior guard Raji Burnett. In the middle for the Huskies is 6’7" junior center Isaiah Bryant who looks to rebound and score inside.

El Cerrito High School
Mascot: Gauchos
El Cerrito, CA
Miles from SLO: 238
Head Coach: Brent Daniels

The El Cerrito Gauchos are coming off of a season where they finished 17-12 and advanced to the 2nd round of the Division II section playoffs. Led by Coach Brent Daniels, the Gauchos play hard and aggressive for all 32 minutes. Look for El Cerrito to make a run to make a run at a CIF title.

Mission Prep High School
Mascot: Royals
San Luis Obispo, CA
Head Coach: Tom Mott

The Mission Prep Royals are coming off a 1999-2000 campaign that saw them advance to the CIF Central Section Semifinals. This season the Royals are off to a 6-1 start (as of 12/14/00). The Royals are led by Junior forward Gerald Purify (20.7 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game), Junior guard Brent Walker (15.9 points per game and 4.3 assists per game), and Senior forward Garrett Loughran (14.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game). Through their first 7 games the Royals are averaging 80.4 points per game.

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