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SoCal High School & Prep Preview

High School Preview: Redondo Union High--(November 30, 1997)

What better time to preview Redondo Union than on the eve of the 46th Annual Redondo-Mira Costa Pacific Shores Tournament, which is set to start tomorrow, Monday, December 1, 1997 at both Redondo and Mira Costa. The first games are scheduled for 6:00 p.m., and Redondo will take on Torrance High in the second game of the evening at Redondo, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Redondo Union competes in the Ocean League against Beverly Hills, Centennial/Compton, Culver City, El Segundo, Mira Costa, Morningside Inglewood, and South Torrance. The coach is Jim Nielsen. Before coaching at Redondo, he coached at North Torrance, and spent 15 years coaching the Mira Costa varsity team. Nielsen played basketball at Washington State, and later worked for ex-Washington State, ex-USC and now-shoe company camp maven George Raveling. Jim's seen a few teams come and go, and he has a rare opportunity with this year's team to work with a group of athletes who have the size, speed and talent potential to put all the pieces together.

The roster this year includes:

Justin Ergieger (6'-4" Jr F)
Tyler Hoffman (6'-2" Sr SG)
Titus Hunt (6'-4" Jr G/F)
Ryan Kittel (6'-0" Sr SG)
Dylan Mathis (6'-5" So F)
Marcus Moore (6'-4" Jr G)
Brian Morris (6'-0" Sr G)
Mike Nazerian (6'-0" Sr G)
Levi Stauffer (6'-3" Sr F)
Jesse Webster (6'-6" Jr F/C)
Walter White (6'-4" So F)
Andrew Zahn (6'-9" So C)

This team features one of the true up-and-coming "big men" in SoCal, Andrew Zahn. He's a very strong, athletic player, and gives Redondo a definite advantage against it's league competitors with his sheer size. He's probably going to have yet one more growth spurt, and could bulk up even more, making him an even more dangerous threat offensively and defensively. His fundamentals are probably superior to other big men in SoCal this year, including JJ Todd at Chaminade, and certainly Alex Jekeli,who never played organized ball before this year. With some of Nielsen's great coaching, Zahn could become one of the top, if not the top post player in SoCal. While he is just a sophomore, he's remarkably adept in the post, but he does need to work on his footwork and on playing with his back to the hoop; he's developed a pretty nice baby hook and turn-around j from in close. Zahn will also be an effective rebounder this year, and should be a major defensive force for Redondo. He could be one of the best in his class this year, and will only get better as time goes on. With Zahn, this team should be the odds-on favorite to win the league and advance deep into the playoffs.

Joining Zahn in the front court will be Mathis, Stauffer, Ergieger, Hunt, Webster and White, with Stauffer or Mathis and Hunt as the probable starters. In point of fact, this team, is heavy in a way most high school teams are not: They are very deep at the forward-swingman positions instead of the guard spots; not that they are weak at the guards (they're not--see below) but they do have a plethora of good forwards and bigger guys who like to and can play down low. Webster, White, Mathis and Ergieger can all play very aggressively inside, allowing Stauffer and Hunt to concentrate on their perimeter games; each of them has a nice outside shot, and can penetrate to the hole effectively. Stauffer is a fine shooter out to about 17', rebounds well, and plays very tenacious defense. Hunt will probably also be a starter, and he's a wide-body type of player, who also can hit the j, and has a good three-point shot. His only problem may be that he's probably a bit over-weight and this may limit him from getting up and down the court as quickly as he might otherwise in a fast-break type of offense. Mathis also has been known to throw it up from time to time from the perimeter, and has a nice, smooth j out to about 17'. Webster is pretty strong and quick and with his long wingspan can be a good defender as well. White likes to play with his back to the basket, and just loves to get in down low and bang with the big bodies.

In the backcourt, Redondo really has the benefit of having two point guards on the floor at the same time with Moore and Hoffman. Marcus Moore give this team the necessary skill level so that, when combined with Zahn and the supporting cast of big men, makes them a potential playoff threat in their division. Moore plays a very big point, and at 6'-4" has great court vision. He's a very similar player to Ruben Douglas (at least Ruben Douglas when he was a junior) and his ball skills are very impressive. He can pass effectively, break down a defense off the dribble, penetrate and create for Zahn and the forwards down low off the dish. He could stand to put on a few pounds to bulk up, but that's not really a major concern for him this year. He can penetrate and use his very quick first step to jab and lose a defender either on the drive or on the pull up jumper, just like Ruben does. He'll be getting a lot of attention this season and next summer, and he'll deserve every bit of it. At the shooting guard position, Tyler Hoffman, at 6'-2" is also a fine athlete with an excellent outside game. He's got range out to NBA three-point distance, and also has a fine handle and can penetrate and create for others. Off the bench in the backcourt, Ryan Kittel and Mike Nazarian are both capable shooters who will make significant contributions. Also coming off the bench, at least initially will be Brian Morris, a guard who got some starting experience last year who has a nice jump shot, and who can also play the point and control the offense.

As we've reported, Redondo will be hosting the 46th Annual Pacific Shores Tournament, and the Seahawk Classic later in December. They will be an exciting team, and among the starters this season, only Stauffer and Hoffman will be leaving to graduation after the season. This is a team which could very well do some damage to a lot of folks this year, and which is certain to be a major contender well into the next year.

The Swish Award

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