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SoCal Prep & High School Preview

High School Preview: Simi Valley--(December 2, 1997)

"Thanks for following up on our request for a Simi High Preview. We (the Varsity team) were all together last night looking over your site and we're interested in you doing a profile on us. Simi has gotten a bad rap lately and we appreciate you taking the time to check us out and watch us play.

"We're looking forward to a great season and we hope you get out to a lot of our games.

"Sincerely,

"The Simi High Basketball Varsity Team
Angelo, Brandan, Brandiunn, Brett, Brian, Ian, Kurt, Mike, Rafael, Shawn."

-- E-mail received 12/1/97 by SoCalHoops.

Ok guys, here it is. Since today marks the start of the 13th Annual Simi Valley Tip-Off Classic, we figured it was a pretty good time to do a preview of the Simi Valley varsity anyway. But since you asked, here goes.

This is a team that plays together, goes to camp together, and apparently all use the same computer together. (Actually it was Kurt Mjoen's computer, but my guess is that the keyboard was a little crowded with 10 pairs of hands on the keyboard.). More than a few of the Simi Valley guys have attended school for a few years together, and this last summer, a lot of them, including Fullove and Boys, attended Charlie Sands' Snow Valley Basketball camp. Now, with the transfers in hand for Boys, they'll continue to play together at what many consider to be the northern part of the Southern Section's best team. Actually, many believe it to be one of the best teams in the Southern Section in their division.

This team is coached by Dean Bradshaw, who is probably about as excited and confident a coach as Jeff Young from Chaminade. He attended high school in San Diego, and also played ball at Cal Lutheran (same place Young played), a D-II school in Thousand Oaks. He taught for a year at a small school in Thousand Oaks, then became the assistant basketball coach there, before moving over to Simi in 1981 to coach under then head coach Bob Hawking, who is now having his own troubles with the Fullerton Titans. He's been the varsity coach since the 88 season, and this will mark his 9th full season as a varsity head coach.

Don MacLean played for the Pioneers before attending UCLA, and not since then has Simi had a team this strong. They've got size, strength and scoring ability. The complete package. "They say there are CIF rules against playing a college team, and Simi Valley is as close as you get," Chaminade Coach Jeff Young told Eric Sondheimer in the LA Times 12/2/97 edition. And Simi isn't content to try to win the Marmonte League, where they have everyone from Agoura, Camarillo, Channel Islands, Newbury Park, Royal, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Westlake shooting at them. Nope, they want to win the Southern Section Division I-AA championship. They're going to have some competition, including Long Beach Poly, just an outstanding team this year. And there will be a few others as well if Poly falls. But these guys are determined.

This team is loaded. The roster includes:

Angelo Mosesso (6'-0" Sr SG)
Branden Foster (5'-7" Jr PG)
Branduinn Fullove (6'-4" So SG)
Brett Michel (6'-6" So SF)
Bryan Zumo (6'-1" Jr SG)
Ian Boys (6'-7" Sr PF/C)
Kurt Mjoen (6'-4" Jr SF)
Mike Collado (6'-1" Sr SG/SF)
Rafael Berumen (6'-9" Jr C)
Shaun Michel (6'-1" Fr PG)

In the front court, there's no question who the star is: Rafael Berumen, at 6'-9" is the man. He's gained some weight, and is about 235 now, and has some of the best post moves in the Southern Section. He's a very agile big man, with the ability to play well with his back to the basket (a skill that's being forgotten by most big guys who spend way too much time watching ESPN instead of practicing their drop-step moves). Berumen was All-League, and also rated as the LA Times' Ventura County player of the year last season, averaging 23 ppg and 10.7 boards. He's got a nice touch around the basket, has also been practicing his shooting from about 10' to 15' and has improved that as well. He plays good defense, can effectively box out down low, and it's just about impossible to move him off the block once he establishes position. "He's very skilled around the basket," Simi Valley Coach Dean Bradshaw told the LA Times Sondheimer. Berumen has very powerful hands, is an excellent rebounder, and also is a pretty good free-throw shooter.

The other "Big" news for Simi this year is the arrival of Ian Boys from Ventura's Buena High. Depending upon who you listen to this is either the biggest scandal since ASU and Fresno were investigated for point shaving, or it's a human tragedy with a happy ending about a kid who's family life is in turmoil and a caring father of a club teammate comes to the rescue by agreeing to be the boy's legal guardian because the parents lives are in too much disarray to take care of him adequately. We just don't know which is right, but we know that at least the CIF believed the latter story, and after Dean Crowley initially blocked Boys from playing, a committee of coaches and principals last month overruled that decision, and approved his eligibility to play. He's really not the focal point of all the bad feelings about the Simi program from other coaches, he's just become the lightening rod, which is really a shame, because he's still just a kid, and this really is only about a kid's game. So, back to the game. Boys was an Channel League player for Buena last year, and at 6'-7" and a solid 225, he adds size and talent in the post, which will enable Berumen to become aggressive and Simi not to have to worry so much about Rafael fouling out. When he and Berumen play together, especially with Brett Michel at 6'-6", they'll present one of the more formidable front lines in the region. Ian has a very nice soft shooting touch, and he loves to slash to the basket, and is also a very good rebounder. Kurt started last year at the forward spot, and he'll probably start again in the front court, at least for now. He's got a great perimeter shot, can hit the 3 range, and is a very smart player. He passes well, rebounds, drives to the hole on offense and plays very tenacious and intense defense. He should be a nice D-I prospect and some college is going to be very happy with him playing for them.

In the back court, look for 6'-4" Branduinn Fullove to start at SG. He was held back a year in junior high, and is a bit more developed than most players his age. He's got great ball knowledge, the handle to play point, and great outside shooting ability. He impressed a lot of people over the summer with just how far his game has progressed, and he's also an excellent free-throw shooting specialist, who has stepped up his defensive play, which was really his only weakness last season. He's got a very quick first step, can break down a defense off the dribble or the cross-over, and really has just about a complete game. He's got a pretty good vertical, and can either dish or finish on the penetration drive.

Brett Michel at 6'-6" also does everything very well, and can shoot, has a nice touch from the perimeter with a great stroke, and plays terrific defense. He loves the baseline 3, and on most other teams would be a shooting guard with his touch, excellent inside passing and very quick lateral quickness on defense. Together, Michel and Fullove are two of the best swingmen in SoCal, and both will ultimately be top prospects for major D-I schools.

Simi's only question mark this year is at the point, and the position will probably be shared between Brett Michel's younger brother Shaun and Brandon Foster, who was on the jv last season. Foster has a good handle, is smart, makes good passing decisions and has a nice entry pass, and takes care of the ball well, everything you'd want a good point guard to do. He's not a penetration type of point, and really neither is Shuan Michel, who also has a great handle, good ball skills and has had the advantage of playing his big brother every day at home. Shuan and Foster are really nice "pass-first" types of point guards, and if they can both demonstrate the necessary maturity to handle the press that other teams will throw at them, they'll both become formidable players for Simi.

The bench players include some really great athletes too. Angelo Mosesso is a pure shooting guard, who also plays good, aggressive defense with quick hands. Mike Collado, at 6'-1" is an inside guy who weighs more than 200 pounds up from last year's jv team, who gives Bradshaw the ability to throw another player in for rebounding and defensive ability during a crunch or when one of the other big guys draws foul trouble, and he's developed the reputation as one of the most enthused players at Simi, a very high energy guy. Bryan Zumo, another 6'-1" guy, is a football player who also has the ability to play down low in a crowd, rebound and put a body on someone. He's a very good defender and also has a fairly decent shot. The only problem for Collado, Zumo and Mosesso is that they're playing behind some of the best in the region, so their playing time will be somewhat limited. But Zumo and Mosesso will be back next year, so this will be valuable grooming time for them.

Simi is going to be one of the best in the area. The Simi Valley Tip-Off starts today, at both Simi and Camarillo High Schools. Look for Simi to contend for a Southern Section Championship and to vie for a State Championship. We figure it's time. So do they.

The Swish Award

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