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

"We'll be taking it one game at a time. We're not backing down against anybody." --William Lee, Lynwood High varsity coach.

Lynwood High School plays in the very competitive San Gabriel Valley League with teams like Compton Dominguez, Downey, Gahr, Paramount and Warren. For the first time in recent memory, Lynwood didn't go to the playoffs last year, finishing 16-10 overall and tied for third in league play with Warren;   because Warren had beaten them during the regular season, Lynwood got to sit home for the playoffs while Warren went on to the Southern Sectional playoffs, losing in the first round to El Toro59-53.  But coach Lee has different plans for this year.

William Lee has been coaching at Lynwood for the last 21 years. He graduated from LA Washington in 1965 and went into the Army for two years where he played a little ball overseas. Upon returning to the U.S., he attended LA Southwest College where he got an A.A. degree, and then Memphis State and Long Beach State, where he graduated in 1975 with a P.E. degree. He then attended UCLA and did post-graduate work in Kinesiology, and ultimately earned his teaching credential from Pepperdine.  His first coaching job was at St. Bernard's in Playa del Rey for one year, 1973-74. In 1775 he was the head coach at Leuzinger for one year, and then moved over to Lynwood in 1976-77. He's been the head varsity coach at Lynwood for the last 8 season. "I really enjoy what I'm doing here. We have great players, and we've had some terrific champions come out of Lynwood over the years," Lee told us.

Lee is most proud of Lynwood's new facility: "We just completed a multi-million dollar gym facility. It's amazing. You should see it. Really. It's the best I've seen anywhere for a high school, and it rivals many of the major colleges,"  Lee said.  And he's right. It is amazing. And it will provide a wonderful platform  for three of the top senior prospects in SoCal to showcase their talent. Gary Lenoir, Keyawn Floyd, and Perry Owen will play some of the most exciting, zone-busting offense you're likely to see this year, and if you get a chance to come out to Lynwood's home games, it's an experience not to be missed.

Whether the team will be deep enough overall to get far in Division I-AA this year is anyone's guess. But they will provide some excitement early as they meet up with Compton on Tuesday, December 1 at the Reebok Compton Tip-Off Classic at 8:00 p.m. at Compton College. "We think that we've got as good a chance as anyone does when playing Compton. Of course, Tito Maddox sort of tips the scales a bit in one direction, because he's just so hard to control," Lee told us.   Hard to control is exactly how we would describe Tito, but that's a different subject. This preview is about Lynwood.  Here's the team:

Jonathan Smith (5'-7" Fr. PG)
Gary Lenoir (5'-11" Sr. PG)
Perry Owen (6'-0" Sr. SG/PG)
William Welch (6'-0" Jr. SG)
Stephan Jones (6'-0" Sr. SG/PG)
Keyawn Floyd (6'-3" Sr. SG/SF)
Jarrett Clark (6'-3" Jr. F)
Keyon Kensi (6'-3" So. F)
Vincent Raglin (6'-4" Jr. F)

As you can see, this is a team without any real center and truly without any real forwards. You're going to see five guards, exhibiting quickness, great shooting and swarming pressure defense and smart defenders players picking off steals when the opportunity presents itself. Whether this team will have what it takes to hang with teams like Compton, Dominguez, Warren, and the others they'll see in the preseason tournaments, is something only time will tell. What we do know now, is that each of these players is very talented, and some will be mid to high D-I players in the coming years.

Gary Lenoir will start at the point. He's improved dramatically this past summer and fall. He's always been quick and athletic, but he's gotten even stronger and is now benchpressing 250 lbs in training. A deadly accurate shooter and a scorer who penetrates and drives to the basket, he's got a great perimeter game and a wonderful sense of confidence when he plays. Gary has one of the best handles and unfortunately was hurt towards the end of the summer, sustaining a back injury at the Double Pump West Coast All-Stars Camp, but it doesn't seem to be bothering him lately. He's currently looking at Oregon, Long Beach State and Washington State, although with the verbal by James Wright to LBSU, we'd have to think that the 49'ers are pretty much out of the picture for now, so we wouldn't expect him to sign until the spring. Gary will get some backup from young Jonathan Smith, a very quick, heady player who is best at penetrating and dishing, and he's got a developing shot out to about 18'-20'.

Perry Owen will start at the two, to the extent any such designations really mean anything on a team which will play what is essentially a five guard motion and flex offense.  Perry is a returning starter and last year he averaged about 11 ppg. He's very fast, and is more of a smooth player than explosive, and he's also probably the best three-point shooter on the team, and we also think he's the best defender.  Keyawn will also start in the rotation, and he can play anywhere from the one to the three, and was the team's leading scorer last season, averaging about 18 ppg. He's very talented and can play way above the rim, hitting the top of the square and with that kind of vertical is a great slashing finisher and rebounder. Keyawn also has great range out to three, and is an excellent defender. 

We'd expect to also see Jarrett and Vincent Raglin starting in the frontcourt, (to the extent that there is any "frontcourt" on this all guard team).  Clark is an exceptional leaper, a very strong rebounder and can post and play inside the paint as well as step out and shoot the ball. Vincent is also an excellent shot blocker, a bit thin at 170 for a forward, but he has an exceptional vertical as well, and is an excellent defender both on and off the ball.  Also in the frontcourt will be Kensi, who  works the paint well too, mostly as a shot blocker. He's up from the JV and is one of the more intense players on the floor, the kind of player who will run through a wall if he's asked to, a very hard worker.

Others who will work the back court will be William Welsh, Kenzie Moore and Stephan Jones. William is playing his first year on Lynwood's varsity and he's a transfer who played jv elsewhere last season. He's a scrappy player, very quick and has good fundamentals.  Kenzie is very talented, and may be one of the most athletic players on the team; he's a sprinter with true sprinter's speed and also runs track, and will be a great defensive specialist.  Stephan has the ability to also cover the point, and has a good handle, decent court vision and a good sense for pushing the break, but needs work on his shot selection.

Look for a motion and passing game from this team, and a lot of trapping and pressing, something they'll do all season long. As we said, you'll get a chance to see this team early at the Reebok Compton Tip-Off Classic on December 1.  From there they'll play three tournaments during the preseason period: The Hart High Holiday Classic, the Westlake Holiday tournament and the Rancho Cucamonga Tournament.  This will be a fast team, very quick, filled with guys running and swarming. And don't blink too much, because they're so fast that if you do, you just might miss them.


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