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High School Team Preview:
Bishop Montgomery High School--(Oct. 20, 1998)

"My biggest problem this year will be finding enough playing time for everyone. It's a pretty nice problem to have."--Doug Mitchell, head coach, Bishop Montgomery High School

Doug Mitchell has been the head coach at Bishop Montgomery for the past 10 years. He's very happy as a high school coach, and has no plans to try to move to the college ranks. "You know, I'm in my 40's, married with a daughter, and college jobs just don't fall off trees. I don't think I'm in a position any longer to become a graduate assistant. Actually, I'm very happy at Bishop Montgomery. This is a great school, and I hope to continue here for  a long time to come," Doug told us tonight.

Doug attended high school here in SoCal at South Torrance High, where he played basketball for three years.  He graduated in 1976, and then attended Antelope Valley College and played there for two years. Doug then did some work in the construction industry, and eventually went back to school at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he graduated in 1988 with a degree in History.  To this day, Doug only teaches History, not P.E..  While attending Cal State Dominguez he served for four years as an assistant coach at Palos Verdes High under legendary coach John Mihalovic, who coached PV in that game where  Bill Laimbeer and Butch VanBredakoff   beat David Greenwood and Roy Hamilton for a CIF title. He then coached for one year at South Torrance and then got the job at Bishop Montgomery. Doug has been married 8 years tomorrow (Oct. 20--Happy Anniversary coach), and he and his wife have a 6 month old daughter.

Last season Bishop Montgomery contended for a Southern Section Division III-A title for the first time in 30 years, and also went to the State Championship Southern Regional tournament.  They didn't win a title in either tournament, losing to Chaminade in the Southern Section 80-68, and then losing in the first round of the State Championship Southern Regional tournament to Ocean View, 54-48.   But as we've said before, that was then and this is now.

This year's team is virtually unchanged from last year, and everyone except the five seniors  on last year's team returns. Gone are Sigmund Singleton (5'-10" PG),   Terrance Walker (6'-0" SG),  Tom Ventura (6'-4" SF), Brandon Odom (6'-6" PF), and Lamar Lawrence (6'-6" PF/C). While this was a nice group of players, this year's team of younger players is now one year older, a whole lot more mature, and we think a much better team.  In regular league play, Bishop Montgomery plays in the Del Rey Athletic League, against teams which include Bishop Amat, St. Bernard's, St. John Bosco, St. Joseph/Lakewood, St. Paul, and Gardena Serra, and among league rivals they'll be one of the best, and will probably, in our view, challenge again for a Division III-A

The team:

Marvin Perez (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF)
Tony Booker (6'-5" Sr. SG/SF)
Garrett Lee (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF)
Gabriel Hughes (6'-10" Sr. C)
Eric Torres (6'-7" Sr. PF)
Quincy Kelly (5'-10" Sr. PG/SG)
Brian Pruitt (6'-6" Jr. F)
Errick Craven (6'-2" So. SG/PG)
Derrick Craven (6'-2" So. PG/SG)
DeVaughn Peace (6'-1" So. PG/SG)
Kenny D'Oyen (5'-7" So. PG)
Leland Dodd (6'-2" So. SG/SF)
David Colbert (5'-10" So. PG)

This is mostly the same young, talented and versatile team from last season, and it features one of the top shooting guard/small forward/power forward trios in Tony, Marvin and Garrett.  Marvin is a returning varsity player who was selected All-CIF Division III last year, and he's been a four year varsity starter. Marvin didn't play a lot this summer as he was injured and had some family issues to deal with, and as a result he's probably being under-recruited right now, only getting the attention of some D-II schools.   Marvin was the best shooter on the team last year, averaging about 15 points per game, and he has a great shot from within and outside the arc. He's a very highly skilled player who can hit the jumper, pass the ball well, and rebound, and we expect that by the time the season is over, he'll have attracted the attention of more schools, and maybe even some D-I's.  Tony is very quick, strong and one of the best post up players. He's a 3 year varsity player, who was selected All-League last year, and interestingly, even though he was only the third best shooter on the team last year, he had very strong performances this summer and fall, and has attracted much attention from Schools like UC Riverside, San Jose State, St. Mary's, Gonzaga, and USF. We're told that Tony was offered by UC Riverside to commit early, but he's elected to wait and will probably not sign until spring.  Tony will see significant time at the low post and out on the wing.   Also seeing some time at the wing position and post will be Garrett Lee, another three year varsity player, who's being looked at by some D-II schools like UC Davis and Morehouse College.  Of the three, he's probably the most athletic, and the best defender, and is certainly among the top 5 players on this team, although he may come off the bench initially to finish a lot of games.

At the two spot, we'd look for Errick and Derrick Craven to see the most time, although both of them could also play the point if needed.   Derrick is probably more of a point than a shooting guard, and vice-versa for Errick. These are two great athletes whose greatest asset is their ability to not only push the ball with great handles and shoot, but to also finish on the drive or the break and take the ball to the hole. "They probably finish better than any other two players we have this year," said Doug. "I've been watching them since they got here as 8th graders, and that's the great thing about them, how well they finish. They're only getting better and better too." Backing up at the shooting guard spot will be senior Quincy Kelly, and sophomore Leland Dodd.  Kelly was the MVP of the jv team last year, and is a smart "coach's player" who goes out and executes extremely well. He's got a capable handle, and is a great perimeter shooter, a sort of point-guard sized shooting guard. Leland is a great shooter, with a nice touch and great athletic ability, more of a catch & shoot type of guy who is good coming off picks and utilizing screens.

The one position where this team is incredibly deep is at the point. Peace, D'Oyen and Colbert will all see time at the point, some more than others, and we would look for DeVaughn to start, and Kenny to finish, and Colbert to get some seasoning this year for next season.  DeVaughn started at point last season, and is very comfortable there. He's a good passer, sees the floor well, and had a very good assist to turnover ratio last year. He's gotten better this summer and is very talented. Kenny is probably a bit more solid, at least in our humble opinion, and will probably come in off the bench as Mitchell considers him more of a playmaker, someone who can affect games simply by his presence.  Doug actually thinks that Kenny is probably the best "pure" point he's coached, better even than Kenny's brother Delano, who was pretty impressive himself. Backing up at times will be Colbert a very good young player up from the jv team. And also remember that the either of the Craven's is fully capable and may at times also run the point in a two guard, two forward, center set-up.

The one spot at which Bishop Montgomery took an unexpected hit this year is at the true power forward spot, since it doesn't look like Brian Pruitt will be able to play.  He's just recently undergone surgery for a partial tear to his ACL in one leg, and "unless his doctors tell us he's 110% ready to play" Doug says he'll recommend to Brian's parents that they have him sit for a year. Doug is aware that some people come back sooner and recover earlier than others, but he's also sensitive to wanting Brian to have a good career and not blow his college D-I chances over a high school season, and Doug is realistic enough to know that in the grand scheme of things, one season won't mean much over a lifetime, especially with a player as talented as Brian, who's got such a bright future when he recovers fully  Brian was the second leading scorer last season, and will definitely be a D-I prospect next year. 

At the post, Bishop Montgomery is very deep, and there's no doubt who will start: Gabriel Hughes is the younger brother of Solomon Hughes, and he'll anchor the post for BM.  Gabriel is not receiving quite the attention that Solomon got going into his senior year, but then we expect that if he waits until the spring, he'll get some great looks from major D-I's.  He took a visit about three weeks ago to Dusquesne, and he's now the fourth or fifth Rockfish guy we hear has made the trek east to visit Dusquesne.  He reportedly was offered by Dusquesne, but is thinking about it very hard, and reportedly will not make any decision until late.  Word has it that he was a bit spooked by the whole recruiting commitment process given the experience of older brother Solomon and the trouble he had with Tulane.  Gabriel is also being pursued by USF and San Jose State, and reportedly will trip to each of those schools as well.    Depending upon whether any majors offer by the spring, Gabriel may consider the prep school route to gain some valuable time and experience, not to mention development.  In the time he's been at BM, he started as an under 6'-0" freshman, and now he's grown close to a foot, and is just beginning to grow into his body. He's put on some weight, and imp9roved his game tremendously this summer, and has played very well developing some good low post moves.  He performed well for Rockfish in Vegas, helping the II team to win the A Division Championship at the Big Time this summer, and also performed well at the EBO Sweet 16 this fall in Fresno. Doug thinks that Gabriel "could be our X-factor this season."  He'll be a great shot-blocker, a fine rebounder, and could be that one intangible that separates this team from the rest in the league and even the Division. He's developed a good touch around the basket, but needs work on his foot placement and movement.

Gabriel will be assisted down in the post by Eric Torres, who will also play the four given Pruitt's injury. Eric is a huge, wide-body type of guy, and at 295 lbs., he's also a huge football prospect, having already taken official visits to Notre Dame, both Arizona Schools and several others for football. He's got big feet, great big soft hands,  and is also a three year varsity player. Doug describes him as one of the smartest players on the floor and he'll see some significant time and should start. 

Bishop will get some really big-time exposure this year. First they'll start off at the Reebok Compton Tip-Off Classic, playing (tentatively) on Monday, November 30, at 8:30 p.m. against Long Beach Poly.  Of course, that schedule might change, depending upon what Etop comes up with next, but for now it's when Doug told us he'll be appearing.

Then from December 7-12, Bishop Montgomery will play in the El Segundo tournament, which will feature teams like Mira Costa, St. Bernard's and last year's Division V State Championship team, Pacific Hills. 

From December 16-23, Bishop Montgomery will appear at the La Canada Tournament, and is looking forward to seeing Muir, Pasadena, Moorpark and Bell-Jeff, among others in what has traditionally been a great 16 team tournament. 

Then, before the start of the season, they'll play at the Best in the West from December 26-31 at the Long Beach Pyramid, and finally before league play gets started, they'll have a matchup against Mayfair at Mayfair on January 4.

And that's not the end of their big time exposure events. On Saturday, January 19, 1999 Bishop Montgomery will play league rival Serra High School at 9:00 p.m.  in the final game of the 1999 adidas/Double Pump MLK Hoops Festival at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Like last year, this is still a young, developing team, and somewhere in it's future we see a Division III-A title and perhaps even a state title. They'll be one of the best again, and we'll be there watching all the fun. See you there.

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