SoCal High School & Prep Preview
Mini-Preview: O.C. Century League
Canyon High--(November 27, 1997)
Canyon High, located in Anaheim, plays in the crowded Century League in the Southern Section against schools such as El Modena, Foothill, Orange, Santa Ana Valley and Villa Park. Last year Canyon High finished 12-15 overall, 5-5 in league play. The team is coached by Rob Alexander, who is in his second year as the head varsity coach. This team features one of the top preps in SoCal this year, Andrew Gaulden, and the team is blessed by size, quickness and shooting ability. Many are counting on Canyon to dethrone Villa Park and to take the league title this year. And they could just do it.
A partial roster:
Gaulden (6'-9" Sr. F)
Ali Goodman (6'-6" Sr. F)
Scott Reed (6'-6" Sr. F)
Justin Haney (6'-1" Jr. G)
Neil Hammad (6'-3" Jr. G)
Aaron Willis (6'-5" Jr. F)
Donn Yu (5'-9" Jr. G)
Roger Hogan (5'-11" So. PG)
Omid Eftekhari (6'-5" Jr. F)
There was a good deal of controversy about Drew Gaulden joining this team. Esperanza boys basketball coach John Cyrus questioned whether everything was done by the book when forward Andrew Gaulden, All-Sunset League first team as a junior last season at Esperanza, transferred to Canyon this past summer. But Canyon coach Rob Alexander defended the way the transfer occurred, telling the Orange Country Register, "The Gaulden family contacted us in the spring, notified me they were interested in transferring, and I referred them to our counseling department, which took care of everything when Esperanza finished school in the spring. He did not practice with our team until he was enrolled." Unlike some other questionable transfers which typically occur over the summer months, no one from Gaulden's AAU team (LA Rockfish) attends Canyon High
The senior transfer has already committed to the University of New Mexico, signing a National Letter of Intent during the fall early signing period. He's a big 6'-9" and averaged 13.7 ppg and 9.5 rebounds at Esperanza High last season. Gaulden was instrumental in Esperanza's victory last year over defending Division II-AA Champions Santa Margarita, who had moved up to Division I-AA to compete with teams such as Esperanza; Gaulden had 10 points in the game. He makes all the difference to Canyon, turning the Comanches from a so-so team, into the league's favorite front-runner this season.Drew is a very intense and focused player. He played this last summer for AAU team LA Rockfish I, one of the top AAU traveling teams from SoCal. He's got great fundamentals and is a highly-developed skill player, with nice post moves, a good touch around the basket and great court sense. Pretty nice to have a big forward capable of being a court leader.
Gaulden will be joined by senior forward Ali Goodman, a big 6'-6" guy, who averaged 14 points per game last season and nine boards each time out. Senior forward Scott Reed, another big 6'-6" guy, who will also play some low post, and 6'-1" junior guard Justin Haney, who averaged 13 points and three assists last season, will also return this season to bring depth and leadership. Junior Neil Hammad, a 6'-3" guard who averaged 11 points per game last season, is also back, as are 6'-5" junior forward Aaron Willis and 5"-9" point guard Donn Yu. Newcomers to Canyon High include Servite High transfer student Roger Hogan, a 5'-11" sophomore point guard, and Omid Eftekhari, a 6'-5" junior forward.
Look for this team to take the Century League, to go deep into the playoffs and to possibly challenge for a CIF Championship.
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