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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Canyon Springs--(Nov. 5, 1999)

Canyon Springs High School is located in Moreno Valley, in Riverside County, about midway between the City of Riverside and Lake Perris. It's become a booming bedroom community for San Bernardino, Ontario, Pasadena, and even Los Angeles.   The school has an active enrollment of 2800 students (coed).  Jeff Stovall is the boys' varsity head coach, and he's going into his 3rd year as the head coach.   He's a native of Indianapolis, Indiana who has lived here since 1973, but "every summer I returned to Indiana to play in tournaments back there," Stovall told us. "I played throughout high school, and then a little in junior college, but I got injured, and things just didn't work out. So I got into coaching."  Stovall is married, and he and his wife have a son, 11, who plays with the IEBA program. "He's getting better and better," Stovall said of his son. "He can't wait to start playing with the bigger boys."

Stovall has been involved in coaching for the last 15 years, first from 1984-90 as an assistant at San Bernardino Valley College, and then at San Bernardino High School from 1990-92. He's been at Canyon Springs since 1994, and when he started coaching the frosh-soph and jv's.  He's a graduate of  Cal State San Bernardino (1988, P.E.).  Prior to taking over the reigns as the varsity coach at Canyon Springs, and throughout the prior 10 years, Stovall taught at a school in Yucaipa, which he described as a "school for juvenile offenders."   As a result, he thinks he's learned a few things about how to deal with young students, and in particular athletes.  "I really do believe in the 'tough love' stuff. I think I've seen a lot of things, and I know how to deal with a lot of behaviors that might be counterproductive. I really do demand the best from my students and from everyone on the team."

"I'm very 'old school' in terms of discipline. I believe in academic.  My team had the second highest GPA of any other sport in the school last year and if I feel that a student isn't doing well enough, even if he's got a high enough GPA to be eligible, I won't let him play.  Academics come first, I really believe that,"  Stovall told us.  And he means it too.  There are at least two players on this year's roster who were technically eligible to play last year, but Stovall refused to let them join the team until their grades improved.

As far as his coaching style, he told us, "I believe in an up-tempo style of play.  With the team we have this season, we'll press and play a lot of man, and do a lot of running. We won't be playing much zone defense, if any."   He's been pretty successful over the last three years, compiling back-to-back 20 win seasons two and three years ago; last year they were not as fortunate, but then Stovall had just lost Roderick Johnson (6'-7" F) to graduation and Antoine McGee (5'-9" PG) to a prep school, and having lost his two best players really hurt.   But this year the team is back, and they've got some really excellent young talent, and who knows, they might just be there for the D-IAA playoffs in late February and March.   Here's the roster for the 199-2000 season:

Richard Cobbs 6'-6" Fr. SG/SF
Jason Braxton 6'-3" Jr. PG
Leon Rosborough 6'-3" So. SG/SF
Chuck Gibson 6'-2" Sr. SG
Howard Taylor 6'-1" Jr. SG/SF
Bryant Robinson 6'-0" Sr. SG/SF/PF
Chad Rossin 6'-7" Sr. C
Brandon Jones 6'-8" Jr. C
Paul Johnson 5'-11" Jr. SG
Jason Brown 6'-4" Sr. SF/PF
Marcus Carver 6'-3" Jr. SG
Ryan Basco 5'-11" Sr. G
Dyron Walker 6'-1" Sr. G
Daniel Azcona 6'-1" Sr. G
Alfonso James 5'-10" So. PG

The starters are likely to be Cobbs, Braxton, Gibson, Rossin, and one from any number of other players. This is a very talented, quick team, and it will be led by Jason Braxton at the point.  Jason is a tough but smooth point guard with excellent size which enables him to see the court well and even pass and shoot over taller defenders. He's got an excellent handle, good quickness and has been shooting the ball very well. "He's really starting to become a complete player. He's working hard, and has gotten very strong in the weight room," Stovall told us.  "I think he'll have a big year. He was averaging 15 ppg last year, and that was without the jumper that he's now got," Stovall said. "He's in better shape now than ever before, and with the strength and the new shot, plus his ability to slash to the hole, he's going to surprise a lot of people." Backing up Braxton primarily will be Alfonso James. Alfonso is a young sophomore who can shoot the three, has a very good handle, is a solid passer and has excellent court vision. Daniel Azcona, a player new to the team from Mexico who played on travel teams there, may get some time although he's really more of a defensive player, but he can also run the floor and is pretty crafty around the basket. But for all intents and purposes, Jason is the team leader and will run the point.

At the two spot, senior Chuck Gibson will primarily get the call to start, at least initially. Gibson is a very good shooter, but probably a little underrated by most recruiters because he didn't participate in any summer AAU tournaments. "While everyone was off traveling around, Chuck was playing in about 30 or so games with us, and just getting better and better. He's a really good shooter, passed the SAT, has the core satisfied, and he's fully qualified. He's also a great defender, very quick, and he'll really help us a lot. Apparently Gibson is currently being recruited by a couple of Ivy's, and is looking at a number of D-II schools, but will most likely wait until spring to make any decisions. Gibson will also share time at the two with Leon Rosborough, a talented young sophomore, who has a very sweet looking jump shot, shoots the ball consistently well, and can also drive to the basket and finish. Rosborough will also play a little three to utilize his rebounding skills, but look for him primarily at the two. Others who may get too see some time at the guard spots will be Paul Johnson, a transfer in from JW North, who will be familiar to those who followed the Rockfish Spring League and Elvert "Kool Aid" Perry's Inland teams. Johnson has a nice shot and played well this summer. Ryan Basco, another shooting guard will also get some minutes as will Dyron Walker, who really is also capable of playing a lot of other positions on the floor, and his jumping ability gives him tremendous versatility.

Richard Cobbs will likely start at the three and he'll also be asked to play the small forward spot too.  "Richard is doing extremely well for a freshman.  People won't recognize him between now and this past summer because he's gotten so much stronger with our conditioning and weightlifting program," Stovall told us.  "He's really mature, both on and off the court, and he's a pleasure to coach.  He's got so much talent, as a shooter, a slasher and he can even play a little post. There's not much this young man can't do." Others who will see some time at the three and four will be Jason Brown, Marcus Carver, Howard Taylor and Bryant Robinson.   Brown is a very strong player, who likes to go to the basket, and is very athletic, and he can play either out on the wing or down low with his back to the basket;  Carver will likely be a role player, but he's got a decent shot out to 15', and he too likes to go to the basket. He's a football player, and plays tight end, so he probably will not join the team until sometime in December.  Taylor can play either the three or the four, and he's a very versatile guy, a decent shooter who will likely be used as a utility player.  Bryant Robinson can actually play three positions and play them well;  he's got a good enough outside shot to be a two, and he can go inside or outside and cover the three or the four adequately. He also played with Kook Aid this summer in Vegas at the Big Time and played in the RSL from time to time last spring.

Up front look for Chad Rossin as the primary starter. He's a big, strong football player with good size and skills; he'll be backed up by Brandon Jones, who missed participating the past two years, but he's played very well this summer. "His game is a bit raw, but we're working on getting him to concentrate on just three things:  Rebounding, blocking, and developing his passing game. This year will be a big test for him.

Just as it will be a big test for this young and talented team. We weren't able to get a complete schedule for the entire season, but their league (The Ivy League) is pretty competitive: Arlington, Moreno Valley, JW North, Riverside Poly, and Rubidoux. All strong teams this year.  In the preseason, they'll participate in an early season scrimmage and then they'll play Rancho Verde at Rancho Verde on 11/29.  From December 7-10, they'll be playing in the Rialto-Eisenhower Classic, which will have teams such as Victor Valley, Rialto, Fontana, Eisenhower, Redlands, Montclair and Upland among others. Then on December 16, Canyon Springs will play San Bernardino Pacific at Pacific, and then from 12/18-23, they'll participate in the Trabuco Hills Reebok Millenium Classic a tournament which will include Santa Margarita, Carson, Stockdale (Bakersfield), Trabuco Hills, Costa Mesa, Chadwick, A.B. Miller, Canyon Springs, Blair, Hoover (Glendale), and Laguna Hills. 

From December 27-30, they'll appear in the Best in West at Long Beach State, where they'll take on Bakersfield (another of the teams we've just recently profiled).  League play will start after the first of the year, and other than league games, Canyon Springs has scheduled Upland on January 4 at Upland, and then they'll play Valley View (Moreno Valley) on January 10.

This will be a fun and interesting season for Canyon Springs.  They've gotten a lot of publicity and a lot of people have done quite a bit of talking about them and several of their players throughout the summer.  But the true test is the season, and only time will tell if this team has the kind of success that many think they are capable of achieving.  We'll be watching. 

 The Swish Award
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