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SoCalHoops High School Previews

SD-CIF: North County Conference
Avocado League Preview--(Nov. 27, 2002)

The San Diego Coaches Association has been really good to us this year.  In the past, getting information out of San Diego has been like pulling teeth, but this year, we've gotten a slew of league and team capsule preview from our friends down south.  First up:  The Avocado League.  Mostly Division I teams and some key players, including a few who have signed with D-I colleges (e.g., Mikel Watson with Wyoming).  There have been a couple of changes in the league constituency from the 2001-02 season:  San Marcos is out of the league and Mt. Carmel is now in, while Oceanside enters also, moving over from the Valley League (North Conference) to make way for Westview.  All teams are still part of the North County Conference.  Here's what we know about the Avocado League teams, as well as some predictions (not ours, again the Coaches' Assn.) pre-season picks for MVP and All-League.  Teams are listed in the order of finish; again these are the Coaches' Association's picks, so if you don't like them, blame them, not us. 


1)     El Camino (Division 1, Oceanside)

Head Coach: Ray Johnson  (23rd Year)
Last year’s record:  26 – 5  (6 –2, 2nd)
Last year’s playoffs:      Lost in CIF championship.
Key players: Mikel Watson (Sr, 6’01”), Justin Armstrong (Jr, 6’04”), Erics Clark (Sr, 6’05”), Greg Sprink (Sr, 6’02”),  Gyno Pomare (Jr, 6’07”), Gerald Prevost (Sr, 6’01”)
Losses to overcome:  Carl McCullough (football at SDSU)
Summary:   Very talented and deep group led by high scoring pg, Watson should help longtime coach, Ray Johnson capture that elusive 6th CIF title.

 2)     Carlsbad  (Division 1, Carlsbad)

Head Coach:     Scott Ogden (3rd year)
Last year’s record:  27 – 5  (7 – 1, 1st)
Last year’s playoffs:  Won CIF D-1 Championship, lost in state 1st round.
Key players:    Craig Austin (Jr, 6’09”), Matt Alsina (Jr, 6’06”), Ricky Martinez (Jr, 5’08”), Brad Alkazin (Jr, 5’11”), Mark Sammons (Jr, 6’02”)
Losses to overcome:    Derek Stockalper (USD), Greg Nelson (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Jeff Brandow (graduation)
Summary:       Group of solid juniors will have to step up significantly to fill the void left with the departure of gritty veterans Stockalper and Nelson, who helped Carlsbad capture 2 of the last 3 D-1 CIF titles.

 3)     Fallbrook   (Division 1, Fallbrook)

Head Coach:       Mike West (4th Year)
Last year’s record: 16 – 12  (3 – 5, 4th)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.
Key players:   Malik Legree (Sr, 5’10”), Tim Manning (Sr, 6’03”), Marlon Howe (Jr, 6’09”)
Losses to overcome:       Cole Lipovac (graduation), Ryan Jorde (graduation)
Summary: Warriors have some pieces to the puzzle, and should be much improved.  Need Howe to step up his game to have a chance at knocking off El Camino and Carlsbad.

4)     Oceanside  (Division 2, Oceanside)

Head Coach: Brad Hollingsworth  (3rd Year)
Last year’s record: 18 – 11  (8 – 2, 2nd in Valley Lg)
Last year’s playoffs:      Lost in semi-finals.
Key players: Tyrone Rollins (Sr, 5’08”), E.J. Wilson (Sr, 6’01”), Bobby Byrd (Sr, 6’07”), Zach Bruce (Sr, 6’05”)
Losses to overcome:
Jonathan Harris (graduation)
Summary:    A strong nucleus returns for the Pirates led by the backcourt of Rollins and Wilson.  Byrd and Bruce are a formidable pair inside and will give opponents problems around the basket.  Lacking in star power, but a solid group overall.

 5)     La Costa Canyon  (Division 1, La Costa Canyon)

Head Coach:   Dave Cassaw (4th Year)
Last year’s record:
21 – 9  (4 – 4, 3rd)
Last year’s playoffs:      Lost in semi-finals.
Key players:    Owen Olson (Sr, 6’08”), Kevin O’Connell (Sr, 6’05”), Zach Palmer (Sr, 6’01”)
Losses to overcome:   Robby Delaney (graduation), Evan Demkiw (graduation), Pat McDonough (graduation)
Summary:        Graduation losses from last year’s senior dominated team will hurt this year’s unit.  Someone needs to step up to help Olson and O’Connell in their final campaign.

 6)     Mt. Carmel  (Division 1, Rancho Penasquitos)

Head Coach:   Chris Vitous  (4th Year)
Last year’s record:
  11 – 15  (4 – 6, 4th in Palomar Lg)
Last year’s playoffs:        None
Key players:   John Knights (Sr, 6’01”), Nick Hartegan (Sr, 6’08”), Eric Sweeney (Jr, 6’03”)
Losses to overcome: Marques Clark (football at Grossmont College), Allyn Robles  (graduation),
Summary:        Mt. Carmel’s lack of depth will take another serious hit with the opening of Westview High.  The view in the Avocado League will look similar to that of the Palomar League as the Sun Devils will be looking up.

Preseason Player of the Year:       
Mikel Watson        (El Camino)

 Preseason All-Avocado League:
Justin Armstrong        (El Camino)
Craig Austin        (Carlsbad)
Marlon Howe        (Fallbrook)
Greg Sprink        (El Camino)
Mikel Watson        (El Camino)

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