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High School Team Preview:
Huntington Beach Edison High School--(Oct. 28, 1998)

"This is definitely a rebuilding year for us. We lost 11 out of 12 players to graduation."-- Corey Kelly, head coach, Edison High

There are two Edison High Schools in the SoCalHoops general coverage area:  Fresno Edison, and Huntington Beach Edison.  This year, there won't be any confusion over which is which. The former will be from what we hear, a formidable opponent for many at the Las Vegas Reebok Holiday Classic, and the other will be just getting its feet wet at the Ocean View Tournament of Champions, and probably taking a pounding from some of the more well-known higher-profile programs like Crenshaw, Fontana, Ayala, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei, Corona Centennial, Long Beach Jordan, Redondo, Morningside, Serra, LA Fremont, A.B. Miller, Compton, San Diego Horizon or The Bishop's.  But Kelly recognizes why they entered such a high profile event. "We just want to improve and give these guys some experience at a really high level. We'll be a really good team one or two years from now. Right now, we just hope we're  competitive."

Kelly is in his third year as the head coach at Edison.   He's another one of those coaches who has returned to his alma mater to teach the kids some of the things he's learned, and Corey played at Edison, graduating in 1988. He attended UCLA for two years, then transferred to Southern California College, where he again played for two years, but was injured.  Like a lot of other guys who got into coaching, it was after he got hurt that he realized coaching would be his thing. He began coaching in 1994 when he graduated from SCC, and immediately became an assistant varsity coach at Edison. He was then the head junior varsity coach for a couple of years, got the assistant varsity job again, and finally took over three years ago. He's got an overall record of 31-22, and is looking to improve upon that record this season, although he realizes it will be tough.  He's single and will get married "when the time is right. For now a girlfriend is all I can handle with this job."  Hmm. We're not sure what she thinks of that, and we just hope she doesn't read this for Corey's sake.

Edison was very competitive last season, posting a 16-9 record,  but lost 11 of 12 starters to graduation. Last year's 16 wins was good enough to earn them second place in the Sunset League of Southern Section, and a spot in the Division I-A Southern Section playoffs. In the first round, they beat Dana Hills 49-47, but then lost in the next round to San Bernardino Pacific 88-78. All in all, it was a good season. But that was then, and this is now, Kelly is sensitive about whether he has over-scheduled this group of young players. He explained by telling us, "We wanted to give them a tough, but not impossible preseason schedule, so that they would know what they have to deal with in league play. Most of these guys, in fact all but one, are up from the jv team. It's time for them to feel what real varsity pressure is like, and learn to adjust to it."

The only returning player from last year's squad is Garrett Golden (6'-1" Sr. G), a great shooter, and good all around player, who Kelly thinks will  surprise some people this year, and who he believes improved dramatically during the summer league.  But one player alone can't do it, and Kelly has some other young players who will try to help out. And as with other teams at this time of year, there are bound to be a few additions to the roster, since practices won't start until next month. But by then most things will be in place, including these guys:

Kyon Min (5'-10" Jr. PG/SG)
Chris Pieters (5'-6" Sr. G)
Andy Knutsen (6'-2" Sr. G/F)
Adam Tombrello (6'-0" Sr. F)
Garrett Golden (6'-1" Sr. G)
Kyon Su Min (5'-11" So. PG/SG/SF)
Mike Brandenburger (6'-4" Sr. PF/C)
Jonathan Smith (6'-2" So. SG/SF)
Jacob Morado (6'-2" Sr. F)
Dave Cornett (6'-8" Sr. C)

On paper this is not a bad looking team; not the best we've seen, but certainly not the worst either and they will win their share of games, and may even take Sunset League if they can catch Los Al napping.  They'll face Esperanza, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, and Marina, all good teams, but whether they've got what it will take to beat the preseason favorite Los Al, is open to debate at this point.

And no, that's not a typo, there really are two players named "Kyong Min" on this team. The younger one has the middle name "Su" but Kelly tells us they are really totally different players.  Kyong the junior, was the mvp of the jv team last season, and he's very quick, a capable defender who can shoot off the dribble and create, and Kelly says he'll be looking for him to do a lot this season.  The younger Kyong Su Min, a spohomore, is an exceptionally good player,  who is up from the freshman team. He's probably stronger, a step quicker than his brother, and can rebound just a bit better.  Both have excellent handles and can penetrate or move the ball in the open court. At the other guard spots, we'd look for Chris Pieters, another starter off the jv team last year at point, who will be one of the main options in this guard oriented offense. Chris is a decent shooter who needs to work a bit on the fundamentals of foot placement on his shot, but he's a very good defender, not exceptionally quick, but strong and can also distribute the ball well. Also vying for time at one of the guard spots will be Andy Knutsen, who is probably the No. 1 cross-country runner in the school and maybe even the county, and he'll add some depth with his great aerobic capacity to sustain long efforts on the floor, and he'll use his good lateral quickness on defense. Andy is more of a slasher than a set shooter, and he's also got decent rebounding ability.  Finally, Michael Sperber, another strong young man with a great handle and very good shot, but who needs work on his defense will also see a lot of time in this motion, pass and pick-away offense.

At the wings, look for Golden, Jonathan Smith, or Jacob Morado. Smith can play anywhere from the shooting guard to the power forward spot, and last year he played on the freshman team, so the only thing he's truly lacking is real varsity level experience. He's an excellent all-around player who can cover most guys on d, with reasonably quick, but not sprinter speed.  Morado, a big strong 200 lb. guy, didn't play last season after playing two years ago on the freshman team. He's a starting middle linebacker and offensive lineman, and will be expected to be somewhat of a slasher and enforcer at the high post out to the wing, and he's a good rebounder as well. 

At the power forward spots, look for Tombrello, a real defensive specialist and rebounder to get some significant time down in the blocks, and he'll be sharing time with Mike Brandenburger, another excellent defender,  who has decent rebounding skills and is one of the hardest working players on the team.   Finally at the center position will be Dave Cornett, all 6'-8" and 215 lbs. of him.  We haven't seen Dave play, and he's really a volleyball player from what we hear, with only average foot speed. Nevertheless he can get up and down the court, but is really still just learning the game, and will need to improve his vertical and shotblocking ability in order to take advantage of his natural height.  "We're going to try to break him of the habit of wanting to be a perimeter player, and try to get him to do the things a big center needs to do so that the team can succeed."

As we said, this is a very young team, with virtually no varsity level experience, and certainly no experience against the kind of teams they'll meet at the Tournament of Champions from December 7-12 at Ocean View.  Still, somehow we think they'll more than hold their own.

Before they get to the TOC, Edison will scrimmage with Capistrano Valley on November 25, and then they'll play Newport Harbor on December 1 in a non-league  exhibition game.  Then it's off to the TOC.  Following the TOC, they'll be playing at the Sonora Tournament from December 14-19, 1998, and this one will feature lots of local Orange County talent from Sonora, Tustin, El Toro, and some other local teams. As soon as we get more details we'll post them up. Following the Christmas holiday, Edison will travel to Reno for the Carson City Capital Classic, which will run on December 28, 29 & 30. Upon their return to SoCal, Edison will face Woodbridge on January  4 and then league play will begin.

This will really be a learning experience for this young group of players, and maybe in the process they'll teach some of the teams they run into a thing or two, and maybe catch some of the traditional powers off-guard. Kelly is certainly hoping so. What's that old saying. . . "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."   There's no danger of these players getting killed on the court, so we're pretty certain that by the time playoffs roll around, they'll be much stronger.


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