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High School Team Preview:
La Jolla The Bishop's School--(Oct. 23, 1998)

"We are a "family" here at The Bishop's. We're the only school that I know of that has the boys' and girls' teams practice together."--Fentriss Winn, head coach, The Bishop's School.

Fentriss is probably right: It's one of the few schools, if not the only one, we know of where the boys' team and girls' team practice together on what they call "Family Fundamental Day" which is every Wednesday during the season. And the two teams work on drills and breakdowns together for good reason:  Fentriss is the coach of both teams. He's had a pretty good measure of success with the two squads, having won back-to-back CIF San Diego Section titles for the girls the last two years, so something is working. He's been the girls coach for the last six years, and the boys' coach the last three. It's only caused a problem in scheduling once that he can recall. "Last year we had both teams scheduled to be at two different places during the playoffs, but because our girls' team had a higher travel seeding priority, the boys gave up a home game and played away at the location where the girls were scheduled.  Both teams won, so it didn't much matter," Fentriss said. "Our girls won the San Diego Section and our boys did fine too, making it all the way to the State Regional finals where we lost to Verbum Dei."  And while they lost that game by 21 points to Verb, it was only a one point game at the half, before Dalron Johnson (6'-9" Sr. C) woke up and scored 17 points for Verbum Dei to lead his team on to the eventual State Championship.  And even though they lost, Bishop's was an impressive team last year, finishing with a 25-8 overall record, and they could very well repeat again this year and make it to the State Regional finals, and maybe beyond.   Sure they'll have to get through San Diego Horizon, Lincoln, and maybe even Verbum Dei again, but they should be up to the task.

Coach Winn believes that he's got the firepower to perhaps to go even further this season. He's an optimistic guy: "We do a lot in practice. By the time we get to game situations, 95% of what our players do is on their own. I like to empower the players to make their own good decisions on the floor. That's what we practice doing."   Winn has been at the 400 student upper-school Bishop's (which was formerly an all-girls' school, going co-ed in 1974)  for the last 6 years. He's a graduate of Bolsa Grande High in Orange County, class of 1979. He attended Mira Costa College where he played for two years, and then attended a trade technical college.  He then entered the coaching field, and was an assistant at Rancho Buena Vista for one year, and then moved over to El Camino in Oceanside where he was an assistant to Roy Johnson.  He's pretty busy and happy at Bishop's, and unless the right offer came along, he's got no plans to leave the school in the near future.

He views this year's team as a continuation of last year's squad, and other than three seniors who graduated last year (John Spears (5'-9" PG), Todd Yates (6'-3" F), and Ryan Leshaw (6'-0" G)) the majority of the team is returning. Here's the team:

Gibran Garcia (5'-11" Sr. PG)
Mike Hausmann (6'-6" Sr. SF/PF)
Nick Booker (6'-5" Jr. PG/SG/SF/PF)
Chris Neff (6'-8" Jr. C)
Paul Fraley (6'-4" Fr. PF)
Jaris Cole (6'-2" So. SG/PG)
Alex Nieto (6'-1" Fr. PG)
Kali Ross-Mau (6'-2" So. SF/PF)
Ryan Neff (6'-5" Fr. PF)
Luke Fitzsimmon (6'-1" Sr. F)
Kevin Murray (6'-2" Sr. SF)

This is a very talented and young group of players, led by a few key seniors and one outstanding junior, two key transfers and some really talented underclassmen. Gib will handle the point. He's a four year varsity returning player, a good defender, who last year played for the Inflight traveling team that played at the Pump Easter Tournament at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He reportedly didn't play a lot this summer in the U.S. and was in Mexico with family, but he's back and in great shape. He's a very good tempo player, who can control a game with his good passing and dribble. He's an excellent penetrator, who runs the floor, and can pull up for the j, but his real forte' is not as a scorer but as a passer, feeding the post and wing players who will do most of the damage. He runs the break really well, and can get the ball up court in a hurry.  . Backing up Gib at the point and also seeing time with him on the floor at the two spot will be Jaris Cole, a transfer from Helix who, because of the unique situation with freshmen in the Grossmont Section of San Diego, didn't play freshman ball at all (actually, we are told there is no freshman ball in San Diego except in the North County; in the Grossmont Section, it's club ball or nothing for freshmen). Jaris is an intense competitor, with a good developing shot and a nice handle, a very hard working kid, who doesn't like to lose and will see some minutes this year.  Another option at the point is Alex Nieto, a good ball-handler with great court vision and an excellent passer who will bet some great experience on this team as a developing freshman.

Gib and the others will be feeding the ball a lot to guys like Mike Hausmann and Nick Booker, who are expected to do a lot of the scoring on this team. Mike is one of those guys who does everything very well. He was a 1st Team All-League player, and is also a standout water-polo player. He was on the Nike High Five America team and we featured him as one of our top players in SoCal at the wing forward position. Mike is a good athlete, with decent post moves, and a nice shooter, with a good touch from in close or out on the perimeter. He's also an excellent rebounder and a good defender who will get some attention during the year. He is reportedly picked by many as one of the top five seniors in San Diego. Mike averaged 18 ppg as a junior, and will also plays the three spot. Right now he's considering New Mexico State, Pepperdine (on a combined water-polo/basketball deal), and several others.

Nick is the other leading scorer on this team, and he can pretty much play anywhere from the one to the four position on this team. He's an excellent perimeter shooter with great touch and timing, who can run the floor and he had a great summer. He's added about 15 lbs. of muscle since last season, is stronger and will use his size to advantage out on the wing or up top. He averaged 16ppg last season and was Second Team All-County, and in Bishop's league, which features Division III and IV schools, he was the Player of the Year in the IV Division.  Even though he's only a junior, he's attracted attention from all over, and is getting about 20-30 letters a week, so he'll have no shortage of high D-I's all over him by the time next summer comes to an end.

Anchoring the center spot will be Chris Neff, a transfer from Torrey Pines, who at 6'-8" will be a definite force and adds an element that Bishop's has never had, at least not in recent memory, a true big man to block shots and rebound.  He's got some great post moves, with a nice touch around the basket and a decent handle, and he's just an excellent leaper with great timing who will clean the glass. At the other forward spot, will be Paul Fraley, another new player who as a young freshman will also see some time this season at the four spot. he's a very intense player, a great rebounder already, and by the time he's a senior, he'll also have the potential to be a top D-I prospect.

This team is loaded with freshman, and another fine prospect is Ryan Neff, Chris' brother, who at 6'-5" has very good size and an excellent developing three-point shot, and we'd actually expect to see him as one of the first options for either Nick or Mike off the bench. Luke Fitzsimmon will also be vying for time at the forward spot and he's a good player with an excellent work ethic, a real hard player. Also at the three-four spots, we'd look for Kali Ross-Mau, a young talented sophomore who played varsity last year and actually came off the bench as the 6th man last season, and he might just be the first option again this year at either the three or four position. He's an athletic rebounder, a very good defensive player with quick hands and nice court speed. Kevin Murray will be challenging for time at the three spot, and he was the MVP of the JV team last year, and he's another fine rebounder, a slashing scorer who led the jv in scoring with 14 ppg last season.

The Bishop's School will first make it's 1998-1999 debut at the Reebok Compton Tip-Off Classic on December 1, where they'll face Pomona in the 5:00 p.m. game.  Then from December 7-12, coach Winn tells us that they'll be appearing at the OceanView Tournament of Champions, so the field in that one must have been expanded to 22 teams.  From December 16-19 & 21st they'll be at the 18-team San Diego Christmas Classic which will feature  Long Beach Poly and Modesto Christian from outside San Diego, and local powerhouses such as Horizon, St. Augustine, Poway, and of course, Bishop's. This will be a great tournament, and may actually feature a rematch of the Modesto Christian and Horizon; Modesto beat Horizon in 1997 for the state
Division V title, and Horizon would love to get back. The brackets aren't set for that one yet, but the tournament will be held at Grossmont and Santana high schools. Wade Vickery, the most successful girls basketball coach in San Diego section history, is in charge of the tournament, and the Championship game will be held at Grossmont High at 8 p.m.on the 21st of December.

Following that one, Bishop's will play in the San Diego Nike Holiday Classic, a huge 60 team tournament which will run from the 26th through 31st.  And even though San Diego is now starting it's own version of the MLK Challenge event which has been so successfully run up in Los Angeles for the last six years, Bishop's will not be playing in the first ever San Diego MLK event. "We just couldn't get the necessary number of games for that one. Maybe next year," Fentriss told us.

Bishop's should be able to contend for the Coastal League title again this season, against schools such as Army-Navy Academy, Calvin Christian,
Francis Parker, Horizon, La Jolla Country Day, San Dieguito Academy and Santa Fe Christian. Whether they'll be strong enough to take the Division IV Section title or can again advance to the State Southern California Regional or beyond is anyone's guess at this point

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