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High School Team Preview:
Pasadena Marshall Fundamental--(Nov. 29, 1998)

"I want my guys to excel in the classroom as well as on the court. They need to prepare themselves for life, not just the game."  Kyle Douglas, second year head coach, Marshall Fundamental

 

Like a lot of small schools,  Marshall doesn't get a lot of traditional media coverage; the Daily News rarely reports their box score, and then only if they play a team from the Valley; the Times doesn't even know that they exist; and the Pasadena Star-News does give them some coverage, but not much in comparison to Pasadena, Muir, La Canada, and even other small programs like Flintridge-Prep.  The league they compete in, the Alpha League, is not known as a hotbed of basketball talent, but reputations can sometimes be deceiving, and we'll offer the same advice to anyone when it comes to this team that we offered to Eric Sondheimer of the LA Times yesterday:   Get out and see this team, because you wouldn't think they're from a "small school" league.  In short, they will impress you.

Pasadena Marshall Fundamental is coached by Kyle Douglas, who is in his second year as head coach.  The team competed last year at the Division IV-AA level (depending upon enrollment, they'll be at either IV-A or IV-AA).  Alpha League opponents include Kilpatrick, LA Baptist, Paraclete and Village Christian.   The Eagles took their league last year with a record of more than 20 wins, and in the first round of D-IV-AA Southern Section playoffs, they defeated Murphy 80-65; in the second round they defeated cross-town rival LaSalle 76-59.  They lost in the Semifinals to Calvary Chapel Santa Ana 79-70, but it was an impressive run, one victory away from making it to the finals. 

This year Marshall is looking to do even better. And they may have the necessary talent to do just that. Here's the roster:

Brian Hollifield (6'-4" Sr. PG)
Ray Scott Phifer (5'-11" Sr. SG)
DeVerion Mackey (6'-4" Jr. SG)
Chris Bennett (6'-10" Sr. F)
Don Williams (6'-5" Jr. F)
Jason Sanford (6'-5" So. SG/SF)
Amor Alexander (6'-3" Sr. SG)
Jovon Jester (Jr. SG)
Bobby Simms (Jr. SG)
Terrel Renner (Jr. SG)
Ricardo Brazille ( Jr. PG)
Jeff Davenport (Sr. G/F)
Lesther Bello (5'-10" Fr. PG)

Marshall is very deep in both the frontcourt and backcourt, and there are at least three potential D-I players on this team right now.   Marshall's starting backcourt will consist of Brian Hollifield, a left-handed quick point, who has great height, and strength.  He's an excellent slasher who not only led the team last season in assists, but also averaged 13 ppg and was the leading rebounder and had the most steals too.   Phifer is a smooth, athletic shooter, with great range out to three, and he's also capable of driving and penetrating and can finish.  DeVerion is really a pretty complete player:  He can shoot the three, or take the ball inside and play above the rim.  Very strong, very quick and athletic, he led the team in scoring last year with 19ppg, and that was on a team that had four players averaging in double figures.

In the frontcourt, look for Chris Bennett, a strong, tall and smart big man, one of the few left unsigned from SoCal during the early signing period.  Chris was looking at several schools, including UMKC and they may still sign him after signing Jake Dederer (6'-10" Sr. C) from Rolling Hills Peninsula, Chris Williams (6'-8" Sr. PF) from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, and
Herb Brown (6'-9" PF) from Kansas City.  We'd look for him to go either with UMKC or with another mid-D-I major. Bennett's size, athleitic ability and finesse make him a tremendous force in the paint and he's also got a pretty good short range jumper and can block shots well too.  Don Williams is a transfer from La Canada, and is very strong, just a huge shot blocker and he fills the lanes.  And with his size 20 shoes, he also fills the floor.  Not a great outside shooter, but pretty effective inside, Williams can put a body on another player as well as anyone his size.  Sanford is a leaper, a great finisher and very active with and without the ball. Vastly improved, his great jumping ability gives him great versatility.

The roster is rounded out by Amor Alexander who will give DeVerion some help at the two/three spot and he's effective from the wing.  Also vying for time at the two spot will be Jovon Jester, Bobby Simms, and Terrel Renner, who are all deep threats from the perimeter.  Ricardo Brazille will be a backup for   Hollifield at the point, as will young freshmen Lesther Bello.  Jeff Davenport meanwhile will see time just about in every position and he's really a versatile bench player on this team.

Marshall will not just schedule league opponents.   Although they had difficulty getting a full tournament schedule, and were originally scheduled to play in the Cathedral City Tournament (more on that tournament later), they are now in the Simi Valley Tip-Off Tournament which will be played at both Simi Valley and Camarillo High Schools starting Tuesday, December 1.  From there they will play in the Bell-Jeff Tournament, and in between, they've got games scheduled against Pasadena Muir, Verbum Dei, Dos Pueblos, and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

We asked second year coach Kyle Douglas for his assessment of the team, and he told us," As a coach in his second year, I couldn't ask for a better complement of players.  This team not only offers a tremendous amount of athletic talent, but we also have 5 students with GPA's of 3.5 or better; almost everyone has at least a 3.0.  We're definitely looking to set some new standards this year for our student athletes, and with a lot of hard work and some luck staying injury-free, I can see us going very deep into the playoffs, and in the classroom."

Here's the rest of the schedule for the year:

December January February
08 @ Dos Pueblos
09 @ Notre Dame
12      Muir
14 @ Blair
16-23--Bell-Jeff Tournament
26-30--La Salle Tournament
05 @Verbum Dei
12@ Paraclete *
14     Kilpatrick*
22     Village Christian *
26    LA Baptist*
29    Paraclete*
02    Kilpatrick*
09 @ Village Christian *
11@ LA Baptist*

*denotes league contest.

The Swish Award
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