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SoCalHoops High School News

William Davis' Inland Empire
Pre-Season Top 10 Preview--(Nov. 22, 2002)

Since we're posting other people's stuff including Jack Pollon's previews of LA City Section leagues, and we'll be stringing together some of the best previews of the San Diego region starting next week, we also thought we'd pass along something which popped up on our SoCalHoops Men's Forum yesterday from Williams Davis, who writes regularly for the IEBP website.  William posted a very cogent and insightful preview of the top teams in the CIF-SS in the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino) region at the IEBP site, and also shared it with our readers by posting it on the board, so we thought it would be great to archive it here in the Daily Articles right alongside the other high school league and team previews we'll be posting in the next month as the season gets going.  You can also find this article at IEBP's own site (where you'll find other information about some of the top players in the Inland Empire) by clicking the linked headline below.  Remember, this is not our preview, but Mr. Davis' so if you have a complaint (or a compliment) be sure to let him know. 

Inland Empire Pre-season Top Ten 2002 - 2003
by William Davis
November 19, 2002

With the new season right around the corner, I will present my 1st Annual Top 10 Preseason Poll and Other Teams To Watch. Below is my pre-season look at the top teams in the Inland Empire. Our number one choice is Eisenhower High School. They could possibly be better than last year’s team that went to the CIF Finals “at the Pond”. Once again they have players who can make plays. The 2002-03 season should be very interesting. The Inland Empire will have some very strong teams playing good basketball. When it’s all said and done we could possibly witness a new CIF champion in the Inland…

Number 1
Eisenhower (Citrus Belt League)
Coach: Steven Johnson
Top Players: Sean Marshall (6’5” Sr), signed with Boston College, Jarel Perry (6’3” Sr), Deonte Nelson (6’1” Sr) Daniel Burke (6’4” Jr), Transfers: Bryan Chappelle (6’5” Sr), Brandon Kennedy (6’4” So)

Overview: Gone are McJimson and Dukes. However they have a 33 game winning streak in the CBL with their tough non-league schedule. Eisenhower will be ready for another run at the league title and another trip to the pond. They’re led by “do it all” Sean Marshall. His support will come from Nelson, Burke and Kennedy. However, the pleasant surprise is Bryan Chappelle who can hoop. The emergence of Jarel Perry will provide the glue and leadership. Their toughness and intensity makes them the number one team in the Inland Empire.

Strengths: Perimeter shooting, versatility, depth, athleticism, decision making
Weaknesses: Rebounding, no shot-blocker this year.

Number 2
Canyon Springs (Ivy League)
Coach: Jeff Stoval
Top Players: Tron Smith (6’2” Sr), signed with Arizona State, Richard Cobbs (6’5” Sr), Andre McGee (5’11” So), Brandon Woods (6’8” Sr), Mark McRae (6’7” Sr), Newcomer: Andre Borrows (6’0” Fr)

Overview: Arguably the most talented team in the Inland Empire. Tron Smith and Andre McGee are the best backcourt players in southern California. They’re both ranked in the "Top 100" in the country by class. Will Richard Cobbs be healthy? Will this be the year they put it all together? Only time will tell. One thing for sure, all the pieces are there.

Strengths: Depth, athleticism, versatility, perimeter shooting
Weaknesses: Chemistry...Will there be enough shots for everybody?

Number 3
Fontana (Citrus Belt League)
Coach: William Harris
Top Players: Travon Williams (6’5” Sr), Daryl Diggings (6’3” Sr), Sean Green (6’3” Jr), Ira Graham (6’0” Jr), Transfer: David Bakley (6’6” Sr)

Overview: One of the most talented, athletic teams in the Inland. Will this be the year they win the CBL? We know this for sure; they will score points against anybody. Sean Green the best junior in San Bernardino County is very good in transition. Ira Graham will provide three point shooting. Travon Williams (4 year letterman), will have a chance to prove he’s ready to lead this team.

Strengths: Athleticism, depth, versatility, great team speed. The press, when it’s good, it’s real good.
Weaknesses: Cohesiveness. Will there be enough basketball for everybody?

Number 4
Upland (Baseline League)
Coach: John McNally
Top Players: Todd Martin (6’7” Sr), signed with Albany University, Anthony Mason (6’3” Sr), Jay Rasch (5’10” Sr), Bryan Burrell (6’0” Sr) Transfers: Mo Newton (6’6” Sr), Justin Hynes (6’6” Sr)

Overview: The best frontcourt in the Inland Empire. Will out rebound most teams. Hynes, Newton and Martin will cause match up problems for teams with no size because they can play inside and outside. Must play with passion to be effective. Guard play will determine how far they go.

Strengths: Size, rebounding, perimeter shooting
Weaknesses: Consistency, depth

Number 5
Claremont (Baseline League)
Coach: Sal Magallanes
Top Players: Perrin Johnson (6’6” Sr), signed with Rider University, Earl Wilson (6’2” Sr), Johnathan Moore (6’3” Sr), Transfers: Marcus Carter (6’4” So), Rasheed Austin (6’6” So)

Overview: They’re one of the co-favorites to win the Baseline League. Claremont played well together as a team this spring/summer, showing that the turmoil from last year is over. Perrin Johnson will need to be the “man” this year. He will get plenty of help from Wilson and Moore. They’re very versatile. Carter and Austin are young and talented. Consistency in their play is vital in order to become an elite team.

Strengths: Chemistry, rebounding, balance attack
Weaknesses: Depth, Perimeter shooting

Number 6
San Gorgonio (San Andreas League)
Coach: Ty Stockham
Top Players: Kevin Houston (5’11” Sr), Khory Lewis (6’3” Sr), Jacob Daigle (6’5” Sr), Daryl Leach (6’0” Sr), Ryan Sherman (6’2” Jr)

Overview: Four starters back from last year’s team that lost in the quarterfinals. This is the year they beat Cajon High School to win the San Andreas League. Kevin Houston and Khory Lewis make up one of the best backcourts in the entire Inland Empire. Daigle will provide the outside shooting. Don’t sleep on this team.

Strengths: Backcourt quickness, perimeter shooting, good team speed, point guard leadership
Weaknesses: Size and depth, rebounding

Number 7
Temecula Valley (Southwestern League)
Coach: Ric Thompson
Top Players: Josh Bomar (6’7” Jr), David Hodge (6’7” Jr), Stuart Sheppard (6’4” Jr), Kyle Riggs (6’7” Jr), Ray Segismar (5’9” Jr), Kyle Vincent (6’0” Sr)

Overview: Returning four starters from last year’s CIF Playoff team. Temecula is the team to beat in the Southwestern League. Young big front line led by Bomar and Hodge. Both have nice post games and both can shoot the mid-range jump shot. Sheppard is the key with his three point shooting. They execute well in their half court offense. Guard play will be important to the success of this team.

Strengths: Rebounding, size and cohesiveness
Weaknesses: Quickness, athleticism and depth

Number 8
Martin Luther King (Sunkist League)
Coach: Tim Sweeney
Top Players: Matt Thomas (6’5” Jr), James Ellis (6’0” Jr), Dru Smith (6’7” So), Dwayne Harris (6’0” Sr), Ronnie Bowlin (6’2” So). Transfer: DeAndre Robinson (6’5” Jr).  Newcomer: Patrick Williams (6’2” Fr)

Overview: Defending State Champions, can they repeat? Marvin Lea and Leon Roseborough, the heart and soul of the team, are gone. Matt Thomas, the best junior in Riverside County, will have to put this team on his shoulders. James Ellis will provide the leadership. They have good young talent returning. With that being said: Will they be ready to take the opponent’s best shot?

Strengths: Balance, depth, good team speed, and their press will cause some teams problems
Weaknesses: Size, cohesiveness, rebounding

Number 9
Centennial (Mountain View League)
Coach: Val Popov
Top Players: Kevin Rodgers (6’2” Sr), Justin Williams (6’6” Jr), James Hughes (6’3” Jr), Ryan Burnett (6’3” So), Anthony Goods (6’3” So)

Overview: The elite team in the Mountain View League. They have six consecutive league titles and should win number seven. The most explosive scorer in Riverside County, Kevin Rodgers, leads them. The supporting cast: Williams, Hughes, Burnett and Goods are talented players who will have to rise to the occasion.

Strengths: Backcourt, perimeter shooting, good team speed
Weaknesses: Young, depth, rebounding

Number 10
Diamond Ranch (Mt. Baldy League)
Coach: Mike Power
Top Players: Michael Earl (6’7” Sr), Drake Walker (6’6” Sr), Tim Miller (6’6” Jr), Delano Gray (6’3” Sr) Newcomer: David Renfro (6’4” Fr)

Overview: Should win the Mt. Baldy League. Their front line is very good, led by Michael Earl, who’s shot blocking skills will make a difference. He has developed into a scoring threat.  Walker and Miller will clean the glass. Gray will slash his way to the basket. Backcourt play will be a factor in how good this team will become.

Strengths: Size, depth, rebounding, perimeter shooting
Weaknesses: Inexperience, interior passing

Other teams to watch

(In alphabetical order)

A.B. Miller – Undersized and scrappy. Must play together to be effective.
Alta Loma High School –Young and talented. Will have growing pains.
Ayala – Minardo and Hatch and company must handle their business to shut up their critics.
Chaparral – Will the four transfers make the difference?
Diamond Bar – Can the three seniors, Kalif Ford, Jaron Smith and Terry Sims, get it done?
J.W. North-Can you say Marcus Slaughter !!!
Murrieta Valley –Will the real James Shoup stand up please! 6’7” Daniel Flemming will provide the firepower.
Perris -Coach Pooh is back. Can you hear “Big Andrew Green” knocking at the door?
Rancho Verde-Loaded with young talent. The Seniors must show them the way.
Riverside Poly – How will they replace Jeremy Lopez’s scoring? They run a great half court offense.
Silverado - Jamie Lester and Kyle Lewis are the best "one-two" punch in the High Desert.
Santiago -Simpson, Denson, Clark need to be good every night.
Walnut – Nobody is 'knowin'. This team plays well together.


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