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High School Team Preview:
NorCal Concord De La Salle--(Nov. 18, 1998)

"We should be pretty strong this year. I'm not making any predictions, but I think we can contend."  Frank Allocco

Frank Allocco is the head coach at Concord De La Salle High School.  He's in his second year after finishing last year with a 24-5 record.  Prior to De La Salle, Allocco coached at Northgate for 6 seasons,  and in 1994-95 his team defeated Artesia for the D-III State Title, and then in 1995-96, his Northgate team lost to Dominguez in D-II.  He attended Notre Dame where he played football and basketball, and for many years has run the Excel Basketball Camp in Northern California, one of the premier camps in the state.  He's married and both his daughter and son played at Northgate, and his son, Frank Allocco, Jr., (5'-10" Jr. PG)  is now the starting point guard for St. Mary's.  He enjoys what he's doing at De La Salle and believes that he and his team are really building something and can possibly challenge this year not only for a Bay Valley Athletic League title, but a North Coast Section and NorCal championship.

Last year, the Spartans were the undefeated champions (18-0) of the Bay Valley Athletic League and the North Coast Section Finalists, losing to Northern California Champion and State runner-up St. Joe's of Alameda by only five points. This year's team lost only one senior to graduation, starting forward Ben Halsey (6'-3" F), who is attending UCSB but not playing.  This is a very talented and deep team and they could challenge some of their traditional rivals, including Bishop O'Dowd, Jesuit (Carmichael), St. Ignatius, and Bellarmine Prep.

Here's the team:

Gus Argenal (6'-0" Sr. SG)
Jaime Sanchez (6'-6" Sr. F)
Casey Cortez (6'-8" Sr. F)
Roger Hall (6'-3" Sr. SG)
Joe See (5'-10" So. PG)
Chris Schlatter (6'-6" Jr. G)
A.J. Kuhle (6'-3" Jr. SG/SF)
Conor Famulener (6'-6" Jr. SG/SF)
Chris Hodoh (6'-0" Jr. SG)
Charles Brown (5'-10" So. PG)
Doyle Rich (6'-0" Jr. G)
Sean Crockett (6'-0" So. G)
Demetrius Williams (6'-1" So. G)

Gus was the Co-MVP of the league last year and is one of the best outside shooters in the state. He's a great defender and moves very well with and without the ball and a lot of the offense for De La Salle will go   through him this year; he's getting some attention from UC Davis and will sign in the spring.  Sanchez, at 240 lbs, is very powerful and strong, and he was the other Co-MVP of the league. He's currently being recruited by San Francisco State, Eastern Washington, UC Riverside, Hayward, Regis University in Denver, and Long Beach State.   At the other forward spot, look for Casey Cortez, a very fine post player with good footwork and a nice touch. He's already taken official visits to LMU and is being looked at by UC Riverside, Davis and SF State. It's also possible that Fullerton, Westmont College and Drake will get involved.

Roger Hall will also fill time at the shooting guard spot, but he's been injured this summer and what kind of condition he will be in for the start of the season is an open question.  At the point, look for Joe See, who led the team to 22 straight wins over the course of last season. He averaged 10 ppg, and is a great floor general, quick, poised, and a solid defender. He played a lot of summer league up in the Bay Area, and didn't attend any of the big camps (Double Pump, Rim Rattler, etc), and much of what is known of him is by reputation in the SoCal area. He can shoot the three, drive, penetrate and kick the ball out to the wing, and Frank believes he'll be a major D-I player by the summer of his junior year.

Also contending for a starting spot will be Chris Schlatter, who has developed into quite a capable four man. He's a slasher, explosive and can drive in traffic and will compete. He reminds us a lot of Casey Jacobsen last year and he may be as good a shooter, one of the strongest and most powerful big shooting guards coming off screens and creating off the dribble. He'll need quite a bit more experience to get to the level of a Jacobsen, but he does have the potential.

Off the bench, there will be quite a few talented players. AJ Kuhle is a strong young man, a team player, "sort of like Havlicek," Frank told us.  He's a good inside-outside player who can drive or hit the three.  Also looking for time at the wing will be Conor Famulener, another inside-outside guy.  Chris Hodoh is a pure two, a shoother who played a lot last year and will work into the rotation very ably, and he's one of the best defenders on the team.   Charles Brown will back up See at the point: He's extremely quick, maybe not sprinter-speed quick, but very fast nontheless, with good hands, vision and versatility.   Doyle Rich, is a sort of streaky shooter, who can get very hot, but will have to work on his consistency on offense; he's a very capable defender and should see significant time this year. Sean Crockett is a very heady player, who can play either the one or the two, and he's still very young and will use this year to gain seasoning.   Sean can shoot from outside or drive and attack the basket.  Finally, but not least, is another sophomore, Demetrius Williams, who Allocco believes could be another true Division I college player in a couple of years. He's a football player, so when he will join the team is open to question, but he has a great handle, is very quick and athletic.

De La Salle opens it's season with a scrimmage game this Saturday, November 21 against Alameda St. Joe's at St. Joe's at 10:00 a.m.    On Wednesday they will scrimmage Vintage at DLS at 6:00 p.m. and then on November 28, they will host their annual Alumni Scrimmage at 7:30 p.m.

On December 10, De La Salle will participate in the 11th Annual Chris Vontoure Spartan Classic, which will be held at De La Salle, featuring St. Joseph, Vallejo, Castlemont, El Cerrito, Serra, Skyline and St. Mary's, some of the top teams featuring the best players in Northern California.

The games will begin on Thursday, December 10.   Here's the schedule:

December 10:

3:30 p.m. St. Mary's v. Castlemont
5:00 p.m.  Vallejo v. El Cerrito
6:30 p.m.  Serra v. De La Salle
8:00 p.m.  St. Joseph v. Skyline

The championship game will take place on Saturday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. .  We'll try to put up the entire bracket shortly, so you'll be able to see the full schedule for Friday and Saturday's other games.

Following the Vontoure Classic, De La Salle will travel to Maui for the Maui Holiday Classic from December 21-23, where they will play six teams from Hawaii and Granite Bay.  Their first game is against King Kekaulike, a local Maui team.  When they return, they will play Berkeley High on Saturday, January 2 at DLS at 7:00 p.m., and then the season gets underway in earnest on January 5.   Other teams in the Bay Valley Athletic League include Clayton, Antioch, Pinole Valley, Liberty, Northgate, Deer Valley, Pittsburge, College Park, and Ygnacio Valley.  

During the season, specifically on Monday January 18, 1999, De La Salle will participate in the Second Annual Martin Luther King Classic, which will be held at St. Mary's College.  This event is sort of a counterpart to the SoCal MLK events taking place the same weekend, and if  you're up in the Bay Area, you'll want to be there to see some of the best teams get ready for the second half of the season and the playoffs.  Matchups will be:

12:00 p.m.  Sacramento Grant v. Richmond De Anza
1:30 p.m.  Sacramento Jesuit v. Mtn. View St. Francis
3:00 p.m.  Concord Carondelet v. Napa Justin Siena (women)
6:00 p.m.  Alameda St. Joe's v. Mtn. View Woodside
7:30 p.m. Concord De La Salle v. Oakland Skyline

De La Salle will be an explosive and talented team, and they could possibly have the personnel and talent to make it all the way through to the NorCal title and the State finals, avenging the five point loss last year.   Time will tell, but Frank Allocco thinks they've got the stuff to do it, even if he doesn't want to make any predictions.

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