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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Canyon (Anaheim) HS--(Nov. 26, 1999)

Canyon HS (Anaheim) is located in the City of Anaheim, but for reasons unknown to us, it's not part of the Anaheim UHSD, but is governed by the Orange Unified School District.  The school is located at 220 South Imperial Hwy, in Anaheim, and it competes in the Century League against El Modena, Foothill, Orange, Santa Ana Valley and Villa Park.  Last year the team went through more than a bit of turmoil, including the early season enrollment of two very talented players, Jamal Walls (6'-5" So. PF) and DeAngelo Collins (6'-9" So. PF), the latter of whom has been the subject of more than a little publicity lately, including a series published by the Register concerning recruiting in high school and the effects it's had on some players, notably Collins.  Last year, second year coach Rob Alexander created more than a little controversy when both of these guys showed up, and then just as quickly left, Walls for Crenshaw where he remains enrolled, and Collins for Tustin, where he did well on the court, but led a troubled and turbulent life off the court.  He's now enrolled at Inglewood after being expelled from Tustin for fighting with another student, and that fight itself is the subject of both a civil lawsuit and it might result in more serious consequences for the young Collins as well.

Nevertheless, despite the turmoil, the Comanches were good last year, very good. In fact they finished first in their league, with a 10-0 league record, 18-8 overall.  They made it to the Division II-AA Southern Section playoffs for the second year in a row under Alexander, but just like the year before, they were eliminated in the first round.  Last season, Canyon ran into Trabuco Hills and Brennan Martin (6'-6" Sr. SG/SF), and the Comanches lost in overtime in the first round again, 56-54.

In the intervening months since the playoffs ended, a lot has happened at Canyon. Alexander stepped down and he was replaced by Dave Taylor, a former assistant coach at the Air Force Academy.  The team graduated eight players from last year's team, and the starting point guard, Roger Hogan (6'-0" Sr. PG) who would have been the only legitimate D-I prospect among the seniors on this year's Canyon team, transferred to Servite, where he is teamed up with newcomer Martin Iti (6'-11" So. F/C).  Gone from the team also, lost to graduation are Neil Hammad (6'-3" SG) who was one of the county's best perimeter shooters, and Ryan Romberg (6'-8" C) a surprisingly good inside player.  The team also lost backup point guard Donn Yu (5'-8" PG), and other contributors in Aaron Willis (6'-5" PF), Omid Eftekhari (6'-6" PF), Brian Solomon (6'-2" G/F), Karl Sherman (6'-0" PF), and Jeff Minhas (6'-6" C).

Taylor described his team for the Times in the preview published by the paper on 11/23, saying, "We are very young and very small."   Well, they are young, and they may be smaller than what he's used to seeing at the D-I level at Air Force, but in comparison to some of the other Orange County teams, they've got reasonably good size.  Maybe not as much as some of the other teams they're likely to run into if they make the playoffs again in D-II-AA, and maybe not enough to seriously contend for a Section title, but they should be ok.  

The three returning varsity players are Jamal Taylor (6'-1" Sr. G), Tom Burke (6'-3" Sr. SF/SG) and Travis Klein (6'-0" Jr. SG).   In fact, this is going to be almost a completely new team.   Here's the roster information we were able to extract from the Times and the Register's stories on Canyon:

Tom Burke 6'-3" Sr. F
Jamal Taylor 6'-1" Sr. G
Travis Klein 6'-0" Sr. G
Derron Putnam 6'-2" So. G
James Lattos 6'-5" Jr. C
Christian Amador 6'-3" Jr. F
Matt Baranick 5'-11" Jr. G
Chris Clark 6'-0" Sr. G
Robert Miller 6'-8" Jr. C

There will undoubtedly be other players on the roster, because 9 deep is just not enough, but this is what the Times and Register agreed the roster would look like early on.  How will they do?   Losing shooters like Hammad and Hogan will hurt, but Burke and Klein should be able to compensate, and Jamal Taylor will also help offensively and defensively.  Taylor is a good athlete, with quick hands on defense and he's very committed to the defensive end of the game. Last year he improved his shot a lot, and first year coach Dave Taylor shouldn't be afraid to let Klein shoot or put the ball on the floor.  Klein is very good in the open court with the ball, can either catch and shoot or spot up on the wing, and he is a solid defender. Burke was mostly a backup last year on the wing, and he's also a very good shooter who two years ago was the top player on the jv team.

The position that Canyon will need the most work on developing is at the point.  They'll have several guys competing, including Chris Clark, and Matt Baranick.  We haven't seen Clark's game, but we have seen Baranick, and he's got good potential, with a nice handle and good court vision.  We saw him several times this summer competing with the Orange County Maccabi team in Cherry Hill, NJ, and he did a great job of feeding the ball to the post (aka Harrison Schaen (6'-8" Fr. F) from Mater Dei), so we know he'll be able to make the same nice lobs and floor entry passes to either James Lattos or Robert Miller should he get the nod.  

In the center spots, look for Lattos and Miller, two of the taller post players in the league. We really don't know enough about the other guys to say much, but it looks like Canyon, at least on paper, will be in a position again to challenge for another title, although candidly we'd be surprised if they manage to knock off Villa Park. Still, they have good size and if they can come together, who knows.

Before the season gets underway, Canyon will appear in several pre-season tournaments, starting with the National Sports Grill Tournament, then they'll get their chance for a small amount of revenge for the first round playoff loss as they meet Trabuco Hills on December 10.   They'll have their hands full when they play Mater Dei, and then they'll travel to Las Vegas for the Reebok Holiday Prep Classic from December 18-23, where they'll compete in the "Bronze Cup" tournament, which will feature mostly smaller schools and some City Section schools from SoCal, including North Hollywood, Chatsworth, Campbell Hall, Montclair Prep, and Venice in addition to some Nevada schools and a couple from the east coast. 

Here's a look at the 1999-2000 schedule, at least this is what the CIF "Master Schedule and Media Guide" shows for Canyon.   Given that we know some of these schedules in that book are incorrect or incomplete, you'd do well to check with the school before heading out to a game, or at least you ought to check the local listings in the daily papers if you intend to travel.  

Canyon Anaheim
Coach: Dave Taylor
Nov. 29-Dec 4 @ National Sports Grill Tournament
Dec. 10 @ Trabuco Hills
Dec. 14 @ Mater Dei
Dec. 18-23 @ Reebok Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic @ Las Vegas, NV
Dec. 27-30 Canyon Anaheim Tournament
Jan 4 Katella
Jan 7 @*Santa Ana Valley
Jan 11 *Foothill
Jan 14 *El Modena
Jan 18 *Villa Park
Jan 21 *Orange
Jan 28 *Santa Ana Valley
Jan 29 @ Santa Margarita
Feb. 1 @*Foothill
Feb 4 *El Modena
Feb 8 *Villa Park
Feb 11 *Orange

We had hoped to do a more complete preview on Canyon, and maybe we'll still get the chance. For now though this is better than a sharp stick in the eye.  They should still be good and will compete.  They'd better, because there are no creampuff teams on their schedule this season.

Canyon (Anaheim) HS
220 South Imperial Hwy, Anaheim, CA
(714) 532-8000
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