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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Kennedy High School--(Nov. 27, 1999)

Kennedy High School is located in La Palma, California, and is not to be confused with any number of other schools bearing the name of the late President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, including the LA City Section high school which is in the Mission Valley League.  This Kennedy High competes in the Southern Section of the CIF, in the Empire League against Century, Cypress, El Dorado, Katella and Loara.  The school has an enrollment of 1925, which would place them in Division I-A for playoff purposes, assuming that playoffs were somewhere on the horizon.  The team didn't make the playoffs last season, and they are not considered favorites to make a run this year either. 

The team is coached by :Pat O'Hern who is going into his third season.  Kennedy didn't do very well last year, finishing tied for last place in the league with Century, and this year, they are again picked by the Orange County Register to finish in fifth place.  Whether they can improve on last year's 9-17 overall record, and their dismal 2-8 finish in league play is really the big question.

We don't know a lot about Kennedy, but then neither does anyone else evidently. Sadly, we haven't been able to find the time to talk with Coach O'Hern, so we're going to rely for this team preview on the information which O'Hern sent to the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times during September and October.   Each year the papers send out a questionnaire to the local coaches, asking them to list their last season record, their key returning players, the top newcomers, and the strengths and weaknesses of the team, the league outlook, and anything else the coach wants to say that is considered noteworthy.  Evidently though neither the Times OC Edition nor the Register had enough space to print everything that each coach said, so we're left with very little to say.  But hey, if the following information is good enough for the pros (by that we mean the sportswriters who get paid to do this for a living) then it should be good enough for our purposes too.  Here's what we know about the roster:

Derek Cunningham 6'-4" Sr. F
John Bayog 5'-10" Sr. G
Robert Reyes 5'-11" Jr. G
Joe Caira 6'-3" Sr. F
Rhema McKnight 6'-1" So. G
Chris Johnson 6'-2" Jr. G/F
Robert Reese 6'-3" Sr. F
Ulysses Emario 6'-0" Sr. SG/SF

Undoubtedly, the above roster only represents those players whom the papers considered "noteworthy" based on the information which O'Hern gave them.  And we're equally certain that there will be at least 7 or 8 other players on the team when the rosters are set.  Ahh, time to call the coach to find out who they are, maybe. . . Well, for now, at least according to the LA Times, Derek Cunningham, a 6-4 senior forward, is the only starter returning for Coach Pat O'Hern, who nonetheless believes "our team has the potential to be real competitive." Lettermen returning include 5-10 senior guard John Bayog, 6-5 senior forward Joe Caira and 5-11 junior guard Robert Reyes. Top newcomers include 6-foot senior Ulysses Emario, 6-2 junior Chris Johnson, 6-1 sophomore Rhema McKnight and 6-3 senior Robert Reese.    We can't tell you anything about any of their games, because we haven't seen them play; but hopefully, with the season underway starting this Monday, we'll have more to say.

The OC Register, which picked the team to finish 5th, said only that "The Fighting Irish will try to rely on quickness and depth to make it through the league campaign," which is a little like saying, "we don't really know much about these guys."  Yes indeed, they'll rely on quickness and depth.   What team wouldn't.  We don't mean to sound critical, but there are platitudes and there are platitudes.  The real point is that this team is largely going to be a mystery because no one knows what they can really do.  Expectations are low, and that's probably a good thing.  It can only get better.

The season starts on Monday for Kennedy, which will appear in the Buena Park Tournament.  Here's the rest of the schedule, and a map in case you're interested in checking out any of the home games.  Again, a word of advice:   Call the school first or check the local papers to confirm the schedule before making a trip to the gym, because the CIF "Master Schedule and Media Guide" is notorious for being incorrect.  Don't say we didn't warn you:

Nov. 29-Dec.4 @Buena Park Tournament
Dec. 6-11 @ Fullerton Tournament
Dec 15 Norwalk
Dec. 17 Magnolia
Dec. 23 @La Mirada
Dec. 27-30 @Canyon Anaheim Tournament
Jan 5 @ La Habra
Jan 7 *Loara
Jan 12 @*El Dorado
Jan 14 *Century
Jan 19 @*Katella
Jan 21 *Cypress
Jan 28 @*Loara
Feb 2 *El Dorado
Feb 4 @*Century
Feb 9 *Katella
Feb 11 @*Cypress
Kennedy High School
8281 Walker Street, La Palma, CA
(714) 220-4119
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