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High School Team Preview:
Glendora High School--(Oct. 23, 1998)

"We've got a pretty good team. And a couple of good players too."--Mike LeDuc

Glendora's head Coach, Mike Le Duc has compiled an impressive 268-40 record in 12 years, almost comparable to Gary McKnight's record at Mater Dei who has 4 more years of coaching. Glendora is one of the premier programs in SoCal and possibly the country, and has one of the top players in the US this year in Casey Jacobsen (6'-6" Sr. SG).  The team is regularly thought of as one of the truly elite programs in CIF, along with Crenshaw, Artesia, Mater Dei and Dominguez.   And last year's record of  31-2, the best in several years, was no fluke: Glendora has had a winning record for the last 27 years in a row. Coach Le Duc is now in his thirteenth year at Glendora and he's won the league 11 times and has taken the team to the CIF finals, semifinals or at worst, the quarterfinals most of those years. Glendora also has the distinction of having had the highest scoring player in CIF history, Tracy Murray, who went on to play for UCLA and the Washington Bullets/Wizards. His brother Cameron followed, playing at USC for a year and he now is playing at Louisville. Adam Jacobsen,   Casey's older brother, played at Pacific last year.  Glendora is regularly in the highest of high profile events, and each year they are showcased in several big events like the Martin Luther Challenge at Pauley (now the Dream Classic), the Nike Extravaganza, and several other events. Last year they played in the John R. Wooden Inaugural High School Invitational and they'll be back again this year, playing at the Pond on December 4.

Coach LeDuc (pronounced "Le Duke") is a straightforward, plain-spoken guy, who speaks matter-of-factly about his players and their abilities and accomplishments. "We have a good team," he said dryly. And he meant it. "We'll do allright. We like to do the things we need to do to get the ball to those guys who are capable of scoring and helping us win."  LeDuc is a product of SoCal,  and he  went to Ramona High School in Riverside, then attended UC Riverside. After graduation, he began coaching at Riverside and Saddleback Colleges, moving to Damien High School in La Verne where he coached JV, then coached the Damien varsity, a job he held for seven years. He's been at Glendora since 1987. He's coached some fairly famous athletes along the way, including a guy named McGwire who also played basketball, but who now swings a bat.

Last year's Glendora team won the CIF Southern Section Division I-A title, defeating Pacific 56-50, and then in the State Regional Championship, they won in the first round, defeating Rancho Bernardo 63-59. But then they ran into Artesia and Jason Kapono in the semifinals, and they got hammered by 20 points, losing 64-44.  Artesia went on to play Westchester for the Regional final, and lost by a single point; Westchester won the Southern Regional and the State Championship.  So Glendora finished three games away from winning it all, which despite their elite status, would have been a first; Glendora's best record in the State Finals, notwithstanding some of the great players who have come out of the program, is a loss in Division II in 1989 to Menlo Atherton. 

But this year, even though several players have graduated, they might be capable of getting back to the State Finals again, as they have one of the true top prospects in the country in Casey Jacobsen, and if they're going to do it, this will be the last opportunity for Jacobsen, who will be playing for the Stanford Cardinal next year following graduation.  Even though several players were lost to graduation (Tim Cremins (6'-2" SF), Jeremy Brown (6'-2" PF) Johnny Anderson (5'-9" PG),  Dominic Degrassi (6'-9" C), Scott Giles (6'-0" SG), Ronnie Lee (6'-2" SG), Earl Sanchez (6'-2" PG), and G. J. Stowell (6'-4" PF)), and even though one half of the Clark brothers (Chad) will not be playing basketball (he's a top baseball prospect who has decided to go with one sport), this is still a team which returns more than a few good players, and there are some new faces too.

The roster:

Michael Ahmad (6'-9" Sr C)
Chris Clark (6'-6" Sr.PF)
Bruce Hatch (6'-2" Jr. SG)
Casey Jacobsen (6'-6" Sr. SG)
Graham Miller (6'-3" Jr. SF)
Jason Davis (6'-3" Jr. SF)
Duncan Reid (6'-6" Jr. PF/C)
Scott Giles (6'-2" Jr. SG/SF)
Andrew Flynn (6'-1" Sr. PF)
Ryan Brigg (6'-3" Sr. PF/C)
Dan Boyer (5'-9" Sr. PG)
Brad Corbett (6'-2" Sr. SG/SF)

Casey Jacobsen is still at the heart of the offensive scheme this year. "There's no doubt we'll run a lot of the offense through Casey," Mike told us. "And we think Chris is a pretty good second option too."  This is a scoring, shooting team, and Casey is the lead dog here, and he was close to being one of the leading scorers in the state last season, with big games, sometimes in the 35 or 40 point range. He averaged 26 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.5 apg as a sophomore and 32 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 5.0 apg and had 2.0 spg last season as a junior and he shot 57 percent from the field and 77 percent on free-throws. He was chosen first-team all-state, Southern Section Division I Player of the year, and was named by USA Today's Dave Krieider as an All-USA Honorable Mention. Casey runs best coming off screens and when others are doing the work to get him open, and he's got great touch and range, and can hit from just about anywhere on the floor, and is one of the best three point shooters in the class in the country. Casey is a big guy, and he must weigh around 200 lbs., and in addition to his great shooting, he's extremely quick and mobile for a guy that size. He played for a number of teams this summer, but the highlight had to have been playing as the captain of the USA World Youth Games Team (17-under) which won the World Championship by beating the Russians. Casey scored 23 points in the title game and averaged 25.4 ppg for the tournament overall.   Casey has played for numerous club teams and programs over the years, and he's a players player. He's played for Belmont Shore, ARC, SCA and a few others. On the Belmont Shore team coached by Dinos Trigonis this spring at  the Reebok/Gibbons Tournament he scored 25 points per game over five games and was named to the All-Tournament team.   He then played for Pat Barrett's Southern California All-Stars throughout much of the summer when he wasn't with the USA team, and at the Nike National Championships in San Diego he met up with his old Belmont Shore crew as SCA lost with Belmont running a box-and-one to contain Casey. And even with that containment, Casey was still impressive.   He also played for Pump-N-Run I at the Fall Discovery Shootout last month along with Mike Dunleavy, Jr., who might also be attending Stanford next year with him.

Chris Clark is no slouch either, and even though he hasn't attracted nearly the kind of attention that Casey has, he's a very capable player in his own right. Chris is another 6'-6" option at the wing, and he can slash, drive and shoot from just about anywhere too. Chris and brother Chad last year spent a lot of time setting screens and picks for Casey, and Chris will no doubt do some of that again this year, but he'll be more of an almost-equal to Casey this season, at least that's what we'd expect to see. Chris has committed to play for UC Riverside in college, and that is a big pickup for Riverside, which is going Division I this year and which will be eligible for post-season play in Chris' sophomore season.

Mike Ahmad will be handling the duties at the post, and he's a very athletic player with great hands and good size with a nice shot out to about 15'. His defense for now is really better on the ball than off the ball, and that's one of the things LeDuc intends to have him work on this season. He'll have his work cut out trying to replace DeGrassi who graduated,  but he'll do all right. We rated him as one of our top senior centers this year in SoCal and he's a very capable player who is attracting the attention of some D-I's after this summer. Backing up Mike will be Reid, who's a tall, skinny kid who is a hard worker and plays just a step ahead of most of his opponents, and he's developed some good high post moves. Ryan Brigg may also see some time at the post as well in special situations where he can be of help.

Bruce Hatch will be handling a lot of the point duties this season. He's also the quarterback on the football team, and he started the last 18 games last year after Earl Sanchez got hurt, which was a big blow to the team, but Bruce really stepped up and got some valuable experience. He's got good court vision, passes well, and will do the things necessary to get the ball to the guys who need it, mostly Casey and Chris. Bruce is very quick, and will push the break and knows how to finish too.   Backing up Bruce will probably be Boyer, or possibly one of the other two guards.

There are actually a lot of 2/3's on this team in addition to Casey and Chris. Graham Miller is an excellent three point shooter and a very strong athlete, although on a team as deep as this he'll probably be a role player. Scott Giles will also be in the same position and he's also a hard-working, strong, athletic guy who will vie for time behind Casey and Chris and the rest. Brad Corbett is another one of those guys who will see limited playing time, but who can step in if needed.

At the forward spots when they're not being covered by Casey and Chris, look for Jason Davis, a very good defender who was the MVP of last year's jv team where he scored 20 ppg. He's a very good athlete with good size and speed, who is a defensive back and a receiver on the football team as well. He's got a very good handle, can pass and shoot, and will slash or post up when needed. Andrew Flynn or Brigg will see some time backing up as well at the forward spot.

Glendora will open it's season with the Triple Crown Challenge on December 1 at Glendora, where they will be the featured game in a triple header which will feature Glendora v. Ayala at 8:00 p.m., preceded by Sonora v. Los Alamitos at 5:00 p.m. and Mater Dei v. San Clemente at 6:30 p.m.

On December 4, Glendora will then match up against Mater Dei in the Wooden Classic at the Arrowhead Pond in the 9:00 p.m. game.  Of that game LeDuc says "It should be interesting. We hope we can stay close with them." That might be an understatement, but then with this team there are really a bunch of unknowns once you get past the first five, and Mater Dei is very deep this year. But it's going to be a great game, and you won't want to miss it.

On December 9, Glendora begins hosting the first of it's two tournaments, the Glendora Cage Classic I (from December 9 through 12) an 8 team tournament featuring mostly local teams like Bassett, South Hills, Covina, and Marin Catholic, which will be followed by the Glendora Cage Classic II from December 14-19, a 16 team tournament featuring teams like Etiwanda, Riverside Poly, Duarte, Brea, and others.

Glendora is one of the few teams to take a full week-long break for the holidays, and they play again on December 26-31 at the San Diego Holiday Classic, a 60 team tournament which will have it's finals on New Year's Eve at Cox Arena at SDSU.

Following the beginning of the league season, Glendora will be one of the featured teams on January 18, 1999 at Pauley Pavilion for the "Dream Classic" (formerly the MLK, Jr., Challenge) where they will face off against Capistrano Valley.  Then, as a tune-up for the playoffs they'll appear at the Nike Extravaganza on February 6, 1999 at Cal State Fullerton, where they'll meet a Jerry Inzunza-led Troy team.

There's no doubt that Glendora won't have much difficulty in winning their league again, although Upland could give them a hard time, but we wouldn't expect too much trouble from school in Baseline League like Chino, Claremont, Damien, Don Lugo,  or St. Lucy's. Whether they can repeat as Division I-A champions again or whether they have the overall depth that will be needed to knock off some of the teams they're likely to run into in State, like Artesia, Crenshaw, Manual Arts, Westchester, Long Beach Poly and others, remains to be seen. But we'll be watching.

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