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High School Team Preview:
Capistrano Valley High School--(Nov. 5, 1998)

"If we don't win every game this year, I won't be surprised. It's something that will make us a lot stronger as a team." --Brian Mulligan.

Brian Mulligan is the head coach at Capistrano Valley High School, a job he's had since taking over 5 games into the season in 1996. He had been an assistant and a vice principal at the school prior to that and has coached for 9 years overall. He's a graduate of San Clemente High (class of 1979) and he attended college at Saddleback College and UC Irvine. Prior to taking over the head coaching job, he coached for 1 year at Orange-Glen in Escondido, and then for three years with his father at Irvine Valley College.   Brian comes from a basketball family, and he's been around the game for most of his life. His father Bill Mulligan coached for 39 years, most recent at Irvine Valley College. While Brian was growing up, his dad was coaching at Long Beach Poly, leading them to 3 CIF titles in the early 60's. From 1965 to 1967, his dad was an assistant at USC, and then an assistant at Riverside Community College for coach Tarkanian from 1967 to 1975; following that move, his father took over at Saddleback where he was the head caoch from 1975-1980, ultimately landing at UC Irvine from 1980 through 91; Bill retired for a year, but then got back into coaching at the JC level at Irvine Valley.  And Brian was with him for much of the trip at Irvine Valley, including the years with Keyon Clark, who was drafted by Orlando.

Brian has had the opportunity to coach at the college level, but prefers the high school game. "Some nights we'd go into a gym and not know who we were going to be playing against; you never knew who the other team might have "just enrolled" that day. I liked working with my dad, but I really didn't care much for the junior college world of basketball, and  after a while it got to be really tiring," Brian told us today.  "I'm much happier at this level, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility of someday taking a college job at the D-I level."  Brian is "just married" and he and his wife are very happy. "It's the best thing I've ever done.  I've got a great life.   I enjoy my work, I'm married to a great woman, and I live a few blocks from the beach. It's great."

Capo Valley this year returns only a few players off of last year's playoff team which lost to Long Beach Poly in the Southern Section Division I-AA quarterfinals 57-44. "That's a game where we just couldn't contain their point guard, Wesley Stokes. He was unstoppable. I hope we get a chance to see them again in the playoffs," Brian said.  Last year's team was good, but against Long Beach Poly, they literally froze for the last 5 minutes of the game as Stokes ran a "four-down" isolation play four times in the last four minutes, scoring on dribble drives each time.  This year, the Cougars are hoping to do much better.   And they've brought in some reinforcements to help, in the form of Nate Hair (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF) who has verballed to USC and J.J. Sola (6'-8" Sr. F/C) who has verballed to Loyola Marymount, both of whom transferred over from Aliso Niguel at the end of the season.   They're definitely good, but they are only two players on the team, and there are a lot of other good players who will help make things happen this year. Here's the roster:

Mike Stowell (6'-3" Sr. SG/SF)
J.J. Sola (6'-8" Sr. F/C)
Nate Hair (6'-4" Sr. SG/SF)
Germaine McDaniel (5'-11" Sr. PG)
Lucas Pace (5'-10" Jr. SG/SF)
Charles Cangelosi (6'-3" Sr. SG/SF)
Tom Pincott (5'-9" Sr. G)
Mark Earnest (6'-2" Sr. SG/SF)
Steve Christensen 6'-2" SG/SF)
Jim Bosma (6'-3" Jr. PF)
Wes Terry (6'-1" Sr. SG/SF)
Brett Jensen (6'-3" Sr. PF/C)
Nick Jensen (5'-10" Jr. PG/SG)
Jason Hong (6'-4" Jr. C)

While there are obviously two much-touted Division I players on this team, there's a third, and he could just be the best of the bunch this year: Mike Stowell,  is a returning varsity starter, a strong, quick, accurate three-point shooter and scorer who has been under-recruited and much overlooked, but who plays with more heart than anyone on this team. He'll be the starter at the wing and he's really a great defender.  Mike has BYU and Utah State on his list right now, and he was also looking at UNC-Wilmington and San Jose State early on, but because of his Mormon roots and his mission status, we look for him to go to one of the two Utah schools. With Pace at the two, and Hair at the three/four spot, look for Mike to pretty much take one of the wings.  Mike will get backup from Charles Cangelosi, a hardworking, quick player on and off the ball, who does all the dirty work, pretty much what Mike used to do before he discovered his shot.  There are several others who will vie for time at the two/three postions, including Earnest, Christensen and West Terry, and we would expect them all to be good placement players, getting time where the situation permits.

At the point, we would expect Germaine McDaniel, a returning starter, and a JC prospect. He's got a great handle and from what we've seen, has lots of street ball in his game, sometimes a bit too much: He tends to improvise and create a lot more than many young guards, but generally gets away with it. He's a driving, penetrating player who handles the ball really well, is very quick and he's even got a decent shot. His best attribute though is that he's a very heady player, smart and he has very good instincts and gets the ball to the open man. His defense on the ball is excellent and he's going to be one of the steals leaders this year.  We're not sure who will or can back him up, but certainly Stowell or Pace are capable of bringing the ball up and distributing it, and you might also see Tom Pincott or even Nick Jensen getting some time at the point, although Pincott is really a better shooter than a point. He can create and has an excellent handle but needs to work on his consistency.

Lucas Pace is sort of a "do it all" kind of guy and in a three guard rotation, he can handle the point, shoot out at the two, or slash from the win. He's definitely the hardest working guy on this team, and is definitely the best defender. In the upcoming MLK "Dream Classic" game between Capo and Glendora, we'd expect to see Lucas guarding Casey Jacobsen, who's almost a foot taller, straight up.  At Vegas this summer, he took 6 or 7 charges in a single game.  Last year, he held Ricky Anderson of Poly to a season low, and also did a great job guarding Jack May of Ayala when the two schools met.  He's a tremendous prospect and is looking at CSUN, LMU and UCSD.

Nate Hair will probably be playing the three/four spot on this team, even though at USC he would definitely project out as a two. As we've said, he's already verballed to USC, and has demonstrated this summer that he's a big-time player.  In fact if you'd asked most people at the beginning of the summer about Hair, not many people would have said "Pac-10" and "Nate Hair" in the same sentence. But based on the way he played at ABCD camp and at the Vegas Big Time and the Best of Summer, there's little doubt that he can play at that level. He's very explosive, quick, and strong, and he can slash to the hole and defend the quickest player on another team.  The biggest question mark for Hair on this team is how well he'll fit in with the others as a senior who comes in as a starter, attending his third school in four years.  But assuming that by the time the season starts he's been fully accepted by his teammates, he will definitely be a team leader and will help Capo Valley go even deeper in the playoffs this season.  Nate will get some relief from Bosma, a football player and perhaps Brett Jensen as well.

At the center spot, look for fellow transfer and D-I player J.J. Sola, a big, strong guy who must weigh about 240 lbs, with very good upper body strength.  J.J. runs the floor very well, and is a decent shot blocker with good touch around the rim and he's big enough and strong enough to back others out of the paint, and has pretty good footwork too.  We haven't seen him use many post moves in the games we've seen him play in this summer, but in a more structured offense, he'll have to develop those moves, especially against some of the better competition Capo will be facing this year in Division I-AA of Southern Section if they hope to advance beyond the quarterfinals this year. J.J. has verballed to LMU, and he'll get some backup down low from Brett Jensen and Jason Hong, although there really is no one else on this team with his height or bulk who can handle the center spot and that's probably the only true weak spot on this otherwise fundamentally sound team.

Capistrano Valley has one of the most ambitious preseason and season schedules we've seen.

Capo Valley will open the preseason with Esperanza on December 7 at home, and then they'll apear from December 8-12 in the All Orange County Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center which is being hosted by Katella and Tom Danley, and which is going to feature most of the best teams in Orange County.  

From there, on December 15, Capo will play in the Katella Holiday Classic Tournament, and then from December 17-22 they'll appear in the Trabuco Hills Tournament.   Then from December 26-31, Capo will appear at the Nike San Diego Holiday Championships, the 60 team tournament and they will play in the tougher "A" bracket there. 

They open the regular season at home against Mater Dei on January 8th,  and during the season, you'll see Capistrano Valley and Glendora matchup in the MLK "Dream Classic" at Pauley Pavilion on Monday, January 18, 1999 which should be a terrific game of shooters and speedy defenders, as two high profile "Fab 15" players Jacobsen and Hair battle it out.  On February 6, about two weeks before the playoffs, they'll appear in the Nike Extravaganza, where they will face off against Artesia.  "I figure that with this schedule, and playing a team like Artesia right before the playoffs, we should be ready for just about anyone, and it will certainly give us something to practice hard for," said Brian.

This is a talented team which has decent depth, but is not overly tall, and could have trouble against the leaders in the division, teams like Mater Dei, Artesia, Inglewood, Poly or if they get beyond them to the State Regional, teams like Crenshaw, Westchester and Manual in the City Section. Just how far they are able to go is in large measure going to be determined by how well this very talented group actually plays together.  We know a lot of people will be waiting and watching to see if this team comes together and plays up to its potential.  Only time will tell.

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