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SoCalHoops High School News

High School Team Preview:
Valencia (Placential) HS--(Nov. 26, 1999)

This team preview is admittedly short in length, and it's also short on information on some of the players listed.  We have not spoken with Dean Yoshimura, even though he's tried to reach us via e-mail and by phone, and as we want to apologize to him for that. Perhaps we'll have the time to get together with him shortly for a more in-depth interview.  As we've said before, we simply don't have the time or resources to physically speak with every single coach of every team in the Southern Section prior to the start of the season in order to get these previews out before play starts.  We'll obviously continue to do previews during the season, but for now this will have to do. And  thankfully, we can rely a bit on the traditional media, such as the LA Times and the Orange County Register.  This preview is based in large part upon information published in the Orange County Register on November 25, 1999 in a preview of the Orange League written by Richard Manfredi, and based on information we've accumulated throughout the summer and last season. 

Valencia (Placentia) High School is located in the City of Placentia, at 500 N. Bradford Avenue.  It's a four year, coed school with an enrollment of 2000 students.  Dean Yoshimura is the head coach, and he's going into his seventh season at the school, having compiled a 76-84 record in the previous six years.  Valencia competes in the Orange League, against Brea Olinda, Savanna, Anaheim, Magnolia, and Western.  In 1998-99, the Tigers finished third in league, just behind first-place Brea Olinda and second-place Savanna, and ahead of fourth-place Magnolia, fifth-place Anaheim, and last place Western.  The Tigers finished with a 5-5 record in league, thus earning a spot in the playoffs in Division II-A, despite the fact that they didn't get the requisite 10 wins overall, finishing with a record of 8-19.   In the Southern Section D-II-A playoffs, Valencia lost in the first round to Laguna Hills, 64-53.

This season, despite their decent league finish and the fact that five players return from last year's team, the Orange County Register has picked Valencia to finish fifth, which of course would put them out of contention for a playoff spot, and certainly out of contention for even a wild card spot unless they can do better than 8 wins overall this year.  In fact, the Register picks Brea Olinda to finish first again, Savanna second, Anaheim third, Magnolia fourth, and only Western to finish behind them, as they did last season.  What's the thinking behind this lowly pick?   Here's what Richard Manfredi wrote about the season outlook for Valencia in his Orange League preview article in the November 25, 1999 edition of the OC Register:

"The Tigers do not have a starter taller than 6-2 and Dixon and Ortega will be counted on for the bulk of the scoring."

Simple, direct and to the point.  They are short, and don't have many guys who are known scorers.  And in a league like the Orange League, with Breat's realative depth, Savanna's decent overall size, and quickness, and a couple of good players on the Anaheim and Magnolia teams, Valencia might even be challenged by Robert Turner's Western team.  Here's a look at the roster which was contained in the OC Register preview.  There may be others added, but for now this is what we know:

Eric Dixon 6'-0" Sr. F
Emmanuel Ortega 5'-9" Jr. G
Keinan Briggs 6'-1" Jr. F
Hugo Hernandez 5'-11" Jr. G
Brian Browne 6'-2" Sr. C
Ben Jones 6'-0" Jr. F
steve Nguyen 5'-10" Sr. G
Chris Franklin 6'-5" Jr. C
Micke Nguyen 5'-8" Sr. G
Jesse Jackson 5'-11" Jr. G

Dixon, Ortega, Briggs, Hernandez, and Browne are all returners, whereas the rest are all newcomers up from the jv's. Valencia will play at a few preseason tournaments, and then they'll jump into the Orange League schedule on Jan 12. Valencia was featured in an article in the LA Times' Orange County Edition, not so much for it's basketball prowess, but in a story entitled "Hometown Heroes" which focused on several schools in and around Orange County which featured mostly homegrown talent, i.e., they don't have many transfers among their rosters.  Here's what was written on this subject about Valencia:

Valencia finished 9-19 [8-19 according to the Register] last season, and some players who might not get in a game if they played for another school cracked the Tigers' starting lineup.  "We give kids a chance," Valencia Coach Dean Yoshimura said. "We only have about 15 to 20 kids come out every year, so it's a great opportunity to play for four years."  Yoshimura's players have responded, scraping together enough league victories to qualify for the playoffs each of the past six seasons. No other Orange League team has a longer current streak. 

"I like my teammates and I like my school," said senior forward Eric Dixon of Valencia. "I've had the same friends since elementary school. It's a sense of pride for us to fight it out as a team."

Here's a look at the schedule:

Nov 29-Dec. 4 @Loara Tournament
Dec. 8 La Habra
Dec. 11 @ Troy
Dec. 13-18 @ Troy Tournament
Dec. 22 @ Cypress
Dec. 27-30 @ Orange Tournament
Jan 5 @ El Dorado
Jan 12 @*Western
Jan 14 @*Savanna
Jan 19 *Anaheim
Jan 21 *Magnolia
Jan 26 @*Brea Olinda
Jan 28 *Western
Feb 2 *Savanna
Feb 4 @*Anahaim
Feb 9 @*Magnolia
Feb 11 *Brea Olinda

 The Swish Award
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