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SoCalHoops High School Previews

SD-CIF: North County Conference
Palomar 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.    The Palomar League of the North County Conference is the focus of this preview.   Again, like the Avocado, it consists of mostly Division I teams and like the Avocado, there are some key players with D-I talent, including Kansas signee Mohamed Abukar.    There have been a couple of changes from last year's league lineup and San Marcos has moved into the league, switching spots with Mt. Carmel which is now in the Avocado.  Otherwise the teams in the league remain the same from last season, and they are all still part of the North County Conference.  Here's the rest of what we know about the Palomar League, as well as some predictions (not ours, again the Coaches Assn.) and pre-season picks for MVP and All-League.   By the way, these teams are listed in their predicted order of finish, as determined by the Coaches Association....Really, we had nothing to do with this, so if you're unhappy about it, don't blame us. 

1)     Rancho Bernardo  (Division 1, Rancho Bernardo)

Head Coach:   Kevin Keller  (2nd Year)
Last year’s record: 19 – 10  (8 – 2, 2nd)
Last year’s playoffs:      Lost in quarterfinals.
Key players:  Mohamed Abukar (Sr, 6’10”), Andrew Olson (Jr, 5’11”), Mark Strong (Sr, 6’06”), Justin Kisner (Jr, 6’03”)
Losses to overcome:      Nick Johnson (transferred to Horizon), Nick Badin (graduation), Erick Laforgia (graduation)
Abukar is the top player in the county and can hurt you on both ends of the court.  Majority of team can shoot and playoff experience last year should help them wrestle the league crown away from Torrey Pines.

2)     Torrey Pines  (Division 1, Del Mar)

Head Coach:       John Olive (6th Year)
Last year’s record:
  25 – 4  (9 – 1, 1st)
Last year’s playoffs:      Lost in semi-finals.
Key players:         Avi Fogel (Sr, 6’02), Josh Kramer (Sr, 6’07”), David Pigott (Sr, 5’11”)
Losses to overcome:       Rod Benson (Univ. of California), J.J. Brull (Air Force Academy), Kyle Cech (graduation)
Summary:        No longer in possession of overwhelming size, the Falcons will have to rely on the experience of Fogel and Kramer to make a run at Rancho Bernardo.  Loss of the Lowenthals, who moved to CIF-SS Newport Harbor will hurt.

3)     Rancho Buena Vista  (Division 1, Vista)
Head Coach:   Terry Miller  (2nd Year)
Last year’s record: 15 – 13  (5 – 5, 3rd)
Last year’s playoffs: Lost in 1st round.
Key players:  Jeremy Cross (Sr, 6’02”), Charles Lawrence (Sr, 6’01”), Trei Turner (Sr, 5’09”)
Losses to overcome:
   Durrell Johnson (Palomar College), Adam Serafin (graduation)
Summary:        They still lack size, but the Longhorns have enough quality athletes to make some noise this year.  Lawrence and Cross both can put the ball in the basket, and it will be nice to have Turner for an entire injury-free year.

4)     San Marcos  (Division 1, San Marcos)
Head Coach:    Brady Stout  (3rd Year)
Last year’s record:  14 – 13  (0 – 8, 5th in Avocado Lg)
Last year’s playoffs:        None
Key players:    Adam Green (Sr, 6’04”), Tanner Moore (Jr, 6’04”), Cody Malloy (Sr, 6’02”)
Losses to overcome:     Jamar Hendrix (graduation), Kyle Moore (graduation)
Summary: The Knights faded late in the season last year, and then suffered some key losses to graduation.  However, with the size and versatility of Green and Moore, San Marcos should be able to make some noise as they shift into the Palomar League.  Not quite ready to play with the big boys, but don’t let them catch you napping.

5)     Poway  (Division 1, Poway)
Head Coach:    Kyle Armstrong  (1st Year)
Last year’s record:
12 – 15  (3 – 7, 5th)
Last year’s playoffs:        None
Key players: Brandon Stock (Sr, 6’04”), Josh Erb (Sr, 6’05”)
Losses to overcome:      Alan Wiggins (transferred to Horizon), Greg Wealch (graduation), R.J. Hall (transferred)
Summary:        The years of Poway dominance are a distant memory as the Titans try to re-group under a new coach.  The senior-laden Titans could turn into one of the surprises of the North County if pieces fall into place early, but
the departures of Hall and Wiggins will hurt.

6)     Vista  (Division 1, Vista)
Head Coach:  Ryan Wooten  (1st Year)
Last year’s record:
7 – 20  (1 – 9, 6th)
Last year’s playoffs:        None
Key players: Ralph Williams (Sr, 6’04”), Michael Underwood (Sr, 5’11”)
Losses to overcome:     Chris Nickolei (graduation), Justin Waassanaar (graduation)
Summary:        Vista can put some athletes on the floor, and under Wooten’s guidance and Williams’ leadership, the Panthers are hopeful of a return to its glory days.

Pre-Season Player of the Year:
Mohamed Abukar        (Rancho Bernardo)

Pre-Season All-Palomar League:
Mohamed Abukar        (Rancho Bernardo)
Jeremy Cross        (Rancho Buena Vista)
Avi Fogel        (Torrey Pines)
Josh Kramer        (Torrey Pines)
Andrew Olson        (Rancho Bernardo)

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