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High School Preview: Paul McLeod's
O.C. Top 10--(November 25, 1997)

It's that time of year: Basketball season is starting for high schools this week. Today's edition of the Los Angeles Times Orange County Edition published the annual list of Top 10 Preseason Picks, written by Paul McLeod, who is the Orange County Edition's associate sports editor. His picks for the Top 10 this year are as follows, along with his comments and some additional background from SoCalHoops. The report has no real depth, but at least its something.

No. 1 Santa Margarita

According to McLeod, the Santa Margarita Eagles' program has become "a finely tuned machine." They have a bunch of returning varsity players, including all five starters and arfe the odds-on favorties to win the Sea View League and challenge for a Southern Section title.

No. 2. Ocean View

The Sea Hawks hope to return to their glory days of the '80s. According to McLeod, "Veteran Coach Jim Harrick's team has speed, height and experience for the first time in at least a decade." Ocean View plays in the crowded Golden West League with Rosary, Saddleback, Santa Ana, Servite, Tustin and Westminster

No. 3. Los Alamitos

According to McLeod, Ricardo Garibay "is a three-point specialist" and Matt Komer, last year's co-Sunset League MVP, "is a big-time 6'-7" senior" who will be playing volleyball at UCLA. Los Alamitos plays in the Sunset League with Edison, Esperanza, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Marina.

No. 4. Tustin

"No starters are returning for the Tillers, but they were loaded anyway. In addition, they picked up three quality transfers. Coach Andy Ground is the perfect guy to get them to play well together," says McLeod.

No. 5. Sonora.

Many think that this team could be one of the best in Orange County, and so does McLead. We especially like Jeff Berokoff, who has reportedly signed a letter of intent with San Diego State for next year, and Marquis Worthy. Look for Sonora to win another Freeway League title.

No. 6. Brea Olinda

We've done a sort of mini review of this team already, and we really like them. Coach Gene Lloyd complains that everyone overlooks the Wildcats in the rankings. They've got great guard speed, including senior Chris McMillian, who will play for Montana next year, and junior point guard Kyle Dodd, one of the fast rising prospects.

No. 7. University

University plays in the packed Pacific Coast Athletic League which includes Aliso Niguel, Costa Mesa, Estancia, Laguna Beach, and Laguna Hills. The University Trojans return all five starters, including guard Eric Palmer and forward Larry Johnson.

No. 8. Dana Hills.

The Dolphins return three quality starters, including forward. Look for Dana Hills to vie for the South Coast League title against teams such as Capistrano Valley, Mater Dei, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, and Trabuco Hills.

No. 9. Canyon

Canyon has Esperanza transfer Drew Gaulden, who at 6'-9" is a terrfic talent who impressed a lot of people last summer, and who has reportedly committed to the University of New Mexico for next year. Look for Canyone to win the Century League.

10. Mater Dei.

Even though it's a rebuilding year, you've got to include Mater Dei. They've got no starters returning, but McKnight's team could do very well and possibly challenge for a league title. Who knows, stranger things have happened.

McLeod ranks the following teams as "On the Bubble":

Calvary Chapel, Estancia, Marina, Servite, Trabuco Hills, Troy.

Well, as we said with Sondheimer's review of some of the Valley teams which appeared in today's Valley Edition, some new is better than no news, and when it comes to High School hoops, any news is better than none at all.

The Swish Award

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