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High School Team Preview:
Venice High--(Oct. 7, 1998)

"A coach needs to be there for his kids, every day, every practice, every game."--Dave Goosen,
Venice High Varsity Coach--October 31, 1997

That's what Dave Goosen told us last year when we did our preview of Venice High in 1998. It's now 1998 and the comment still pretty much says it all for coach Goosen. Last year we also wrote that Dave "was certainly one of the most enthusiastic coaches I've talked to this year." Time and another year of experience have not diminished his enthusiasm, and if anything, he's even more optimistic this season, for good reason, as you'll see below.

Dave grew up in Los Angeles, played high school basketball at University High under coach Nakabara. His inspiration for coaching was derived from two people: 1) His father; and 2) former UCLA basketball great John Galbraith. Dave says his father has never missed a single Goosen has either played or coached, and he still comes to practices and scrimmages, helps out with fund raising for the team.  Galbraith was the one who, as Dave's high school English teacher, first suggested he think about coaching. Goosen attended Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he majored in Physical Education, and has been involved in coaching since he entered college. For the last few years, he's also coached the Pump-N-Run teams at the Vegas Big Time, EBO Tournaments, and at the Best of Summer.   Dave is also one of the hardest working guys around, working the camps, coaching, teaching, and always trying to help kids improve.

Before last season, Venice sort of had the wind knocked out of its' sails as it lost David Bluthenthal (6'-7" PF), who transferred over to Westchester, and with the Comets, David was instrumental in giving Westchester the City, CIF Southern Section, Southern Regional, and State Championships.  Venice, on the other hand, which plays in 3A, struggled, and while they made the 3A playoffs, they weren't real contenders.  This year's a different story entirely though.  Gone are Justin Steele (6'-4" C),   Kevin McQueen (6'-0" G), Erik Matsubayshi (5'-7" PG), Darryl Howard (5'-9" G), Stuart Wong (6'-1" PF), Craig Mikasa (5'-6" Sr. G), Kyle Williams (5'-11" G), Derek Davis (6'-4" F), and Kevin Ito (5'-10" Sr. PG).

What this means is that Venice only returns three starters,  and only 4 players total from last year's team.  But that's not all  bad, considering that two of those returning players are Glen McGowan (6'-8" Sr. F/C), who's grown another two inches this summer, Kyle Morrison (6'-1" Jr. PG/SG) who has also grown three inches since last season, and Kevin Johnson (6'-5" Sr. F), who has grown two inches.

And they've got some really great new transfers and some others coming up too.   In fact, with Sylmar moving up to 4A (yeah, we apologized earlier to Sylmar coach Bort Escoto for the unintended "dis" about a month ago when we said that Venice would challenge Sylmar for 3A. . . that isn't going to happen now that Sylmar has moved up. Our bad.), we would have to pick Venice as the leader in 3A Division.  Really, we feel pretty confident saying that Venice will be the team to beat.  Considering that   San Fernando is completely rebuilding, and most of it's players have fled to Alemany with Darryl McDonald, Poly lost Ellis Richardson (ok, so they also lost some other guys), and who else will challenge in 3A ?  Maybe San Pedro, maybe Jordan, and maybe Mid-City Magnet. We don't know about Reseda this year,  but Narbonne is on probation. Yes,  right about now, Venice has got to be among the favorites, if not the favorite in the division.

Here's what the roster looks like, again (boy are we getting tired of saying this) unless there are some changes; we don't anticipate much tinkering though:

Kevin Johnson (6'-5" Sr.  F)
Glen McGowan (6'-7" Sr. F/C)
Kyle Morrison (6'-1" Jr. G)
Trevor Oelrich (6'-1" Jr. SG/F)
Joseph Dural (6'-8" Sr. F/C) 
Montel Duhon (6'-4" Jr. SG)
Eric Dilworth (5'-10" Sr. PG)
Matt Hendrix (5'-10" Sr. PG)  .
David Vance (6'-8" Sr. F/C)
Anthony Alexander (6'-1" Jr. SG)
Masal Tsuneyoshi (5'-10" Jr. SG)
Chris Bartek (6'-3" Sr. F)
Takeshi Shishido (5'-10" Sr. PG)

There's another player who was on varsity who won't be returning even though he didn't graduate.  That would be J.P. Losman (6'-3" Sr. F/PF) who will not be playing this season, at least not basketball anyway.  J.P. is the quarterback at Venice, and by some accounts he's ranked the No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 high school quarterback prospect in the country.  J.P. has signed to play at UCLA next year, and he'll be the next Carson Palmer-type sensation as a freshman.  And if he's not, well, we don't know what we're talking about in football anyway.

The big name on this team is Glen McGowan,  who seems to have fixed his "bad feet" problem.  Really, Glen is a huge, big time prospect, and even though he was plagued by bad feet all last year and into the spring, he's come on with a vengeance this fall. At the Pump Discovery Shootout he was everywhere, playing for Pump-N-Run II, and several other teams.  Glen is a solid D-I prospect, who can run the floor, has a decent handle, passes well, rebounds and has developed a solid work ethic. He will be the senior leader on this team.  Glen is looking at several mid-major D-I schools, but we don't expect him to sign until the spring, and it's just as likely that he might attend prep school to work on some of his fundamentals.

Kevin Johnson, at 6'-5" was the "most improved" player when he moved up from the JV, but he's  worked hard, rebounded, played great defense, used his hands and feet well in games, and in general became a completely different player.  He's now a candidate for All-City, and a potential D-I recruit, but he might go the JC route.   The two former sophs who are now juniors, affectionately known as Venice's version of "Beavis & Butthead" are Kyle Morrison,  a scrappy, tough kid, who has matured a lot this past summer. He's developed a good handle, but still shows the same energy, taking charges, diving for loose balls, and playing with energy and enthusiasm. Kyle is also a good student and he's gotten some looks from  USC, Fullerton, Sacramento State, UCIrvine, and some others. Trevor Oelrich (Beavis)  has developed into a dependable 2/3 combo player, with a nice shot and good defensive skills. 

Venice will now have the services of not one, but two more big guys to go along with returning starter and all-City player Glen McGowan (6'-7" Sr. SG/F). David Vance (6'-8" Sr. F/C) who transferred from Crenshaw, is a very fine, strong player, tough and a great rebounder with decent post moves. For a big guy, Vance is surprisingly agile, can run the floor, dunk with ease, rebounds like crazy, and blocks shots, all of which Venice was sorely lacking last season. Joseph Dural (6'-8" Sr. F/C) who played last year at Verdugo Hills, has impressed a lot of people with his strong interior play and ability to run the floor, block shots and rebound.  Joe is getting some serious attention from Oregon and Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, and we expect him to set up some official visits soon.

Venice has also received three other transfers. The first is  from the Valley, Montel Duhon (6'-4" Jr. SG/SF) from Kennedy (he might be related to Chris Duhon (6'-1" Sr. PG) from Salman, Louisiana who played for the New Orleans Jazz in the Best of Summer.   Montel is a very active, quick and skilled shooting guard with a reliable shot, and a nice drive to the hole.  The second other transfer is point guard Eric Dilworth (5'-10" Sr. PG) from league rival LA Hamilton.  Eric is a capable point with good court vision, fine passing ability and he could end up being one of the top points.   Not a transfer, but sharing the floor-general duties with Eric will be returning varsity player Matt Hendrix (5'-10" Sr. PG) who had a great summer at the Pump Camps.   Matt is quick, has good hops, nice passing ability and he's a very good defender. The third other new transfer is Anthony Alexander (6'-1" Jr. SG) a transfer from league rival University. He's a good athlete,  an effective rebounder, with a decent shot and good defensive skills.

Up from the JV are a pair of guards, Masal Tsuneyoshi (5'-10" Jr. SG),  a hardworking young player with a nice shot and who can run the floor, and Takeshi Shishido (5'-10" Sr. PG) a point guard with decent passing skills, reasonably good speed and a fine work ethic.  Both of these guys played up last year in the playoffs with the varsity, as did Chris Bartek (6'-3" Sr. F) a strong forward who will spell Johnson, Duhon, and who works very hard.

Venice High will also play in several pre-season tournaments this year. They'll  be at the Beverly Hills Tournament, and the Eagle Rock Tournament, and are looking for one more tourney presently to replace the Van Nuys Tournament, which they will not appear in this year.

As good as we thought Venice might be following last season, it looks like  they're going to be even better. We'll be watching to see just how good they really are.

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