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SoCalHoops High School News

Pat McKinney: A Blast From The Past &
USDHS At A Distance--(Dec. 11. 1998)

Many of our readers will remember that last year SoCalHoops developed a special relationship with the University of San Diego High School team and with Pat McKinney, who maintained the USDHS Dons basketball website.  Pat was our correspondent last year for high school hoops in the San Diego area.

So what happened to Pat?  Why has he not been filing regular updates on the defending State Champions in Division III, or regularly updating us with the news about the other great teams from the San Diego area like D-IV's Horizon, or Bishop's, St. Augustine, Helix, Rancho Buena Vista, or any number of other good teams?  

Well, it seems that life has a way of interfering with basketball sometimes (hey, who was it that said "basketball is life").  Pat and his wife have now moved to San Francisco to attend the University of California's Hastings College of the Law (our own alma mater--class of '79--for those interested in such things).  We tried to warn him, but he wants to be a lawyer anyway.  Some people just won't listen :-).  In any event, it's pretty difficult for him  to stay in touch with San Diego area hoops, but at least the Union-Tribune has finally put a "preps" page on their website. 

But all is not lost for Pat, and he's doing the next best thing to being there: Following the Dons when they travel up to the Bay Area as they did yesterday for the "Father Barry Christmas Classic," the all Catholic school tournament held at Carmichael Jesuit every year.  USDHS has been invited to attend the tournament for the last several years, and it features some of the best schools on the West Coast, including teams from Arizona (Brophy), and several from the Bay Area (St. Ignatius, Bishop O'Dowd, Sacred Heart). This is one of the top tournaments of the year up north.  Here's Pat's report:

Just to show I can't get enough...

My Property Final ended at 11:30 yesterday morning and, since my next test (Torts) isn't until Tuesday and I was pretty much burnt out, I decided to head over to Carmichael and catch the Dons' first-round game against Sacred Heart. After all, Uni is up to defend their title in the Father Barry Christmas Classic and the cast is quite different this year.

I spoke with Jim [USDHS Coach Jim Tomey] for a while before the game and he seemed pretty optimistic, but realized that the team had not yet been tested. Anyway, he's got a lot of new players, most notably Mike Malloy, a 6'-4" Senior from Arizona who is quick and can dunk in traffic. He has a disturbing penchant for hanging off the rim after his house rattling dunks, but more on that in a minute. I heard somewhere that one of the kids from Enterprise, the other state finalist in Div. III, is on the team but I couldn't tell who and a subsequent roster check revealed no further information. Finally, Uni got a guy from Washington (state), Jeff Day,  a 6'-9" Sophomore, whose dad was a 7-footer. That means Uni can (and did) play a front line measuring 6'-9", 6'-9", and 6'-8", bigger than most college teams.

USDHS started the following five:

Chris Walton, 6'-8", Jr.
Kam Walton, 6'-9", Jr.
Malloy, 6'-4", Sr.
Adam Olson, 6'-7", Jr.
Chris Gannon, 5'-11", Jr.

Sacred Heart started the following lineup:

Bobby Barnes, 5'-10", So.
Dan Vicenzi, 6'-0", Jr
R.T. Knauff, 6'-2", Fr.
Mel Waters, 6'-3", Jr
Tony Miranda, 6'-4". Jr.

Sacred Heart is young and the difference in height was striking. Hard to say, but Uni may have noticed it and figured they were looking at a cake walk. Eight minutes later, the Dons were down 20-10 and realized they needed to play defense if they hoped to win. The only bright spot in the first quarter was Chris Walton, who looks markedly bigger and scored all of the Dons' first quarter points.

In the second Uni clamped down and played the defense I was used to.  Malloy also came alive, scoring 11 in the second and helping Uni to a 31-28 halftime lead. Malloy has a great nose for the ball and got off on several breakaways. He finished a one on one by dunking over the guy and then hanging from the rim, but the refs didn't find anything wrong with it. It looked like the Dons were on track and things really hadn't changed too much for this year.

However, the one gaping hole, as everyone can imagine, is at point guard, where things look quite uncertain. With Abramowitz playing every minute of every game where the outcome was even slightly in doubt, the Dons had a captain who could control the flow of the game. With Conor Hulburt gone for disciplinary reasons and Justin Green finishing up another spectacular football season, the point is a questionable spot right now. Neither Gannon nor Josh Kipper, a 6'-3" Junior, seem particularly suited to the role. This became all too apparent in the third as both offenses sputtered and Sacred Heart outscored the Dons 8-6 and Uni clung to a 37-36 lead.

The fourth quarter settled the game within the first couple of minutes as both Chris Walton and Malloy came alive again during a 12-0 run that put the Dons up 49-36. Walton had 9 in the fourth and Malloy 14 as the Dons cruised to a 63-49 victory. Chris Walton led the Dons with 27 and Malloy had 26, meaning the rest of the squad scored a combined 10 points. The Jekyll and Hyde personality of this team reminds of the team Uni fielded three years ago, when Nate Walton and Matt Blakely were seniors, Mac Clark a Junior, and Luke Walton and David Abramowitz Sophomores. Extremely high potential, but it is clear this team needs to learn how to win and maintain those flashes of dominance they are capable of. Of course, it's still early and the team needs time to gel, but this team has a lot of horses. It remains unclear whether they will be unable to put it all together.

Unfortunately, I had to leave after the game because I was pretty tired and facing a 90 minute drive back home. Uni gets the winner of the Brophy/O'Dowd game tonight at 6:30. My guess is Brophy because they seemed to be returning everybody from a team that was pretty good last year. I will forward any information I can get my hands on, but I was pretty disappointed by the lack of coverage in the SF Chronicle, despite St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart, both SF teams, in the tournament.

Finally, a little update on Ron McMillan. Apparently, he enrolled in Mesa (AZ) JC and was set to play this season, but he decided to come home. He enrolled in Southwestern JC "for a day" and is currently enrolled in Grossmont JC in San Diego, but not playing hoop. I really wish he could get on with a program, but it looks like his odyssey will continue.

Talk to you soon, Pat

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