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SoCal Prep & High School Previews

High School Preview: LA San Fernando High--(November 25, 1997)

"Can we get up to play every single game?"--Coach Mick Cady

Eric Sondheimer of the Times today published a few of his City Section team previews on only a few Valley teams: San Fernando had the lead article, and Cleveland, Birmingham, Taft, Sylmar & Poly each got a small paragraph. So what does Sondheimer think? Has he saved us any legwork by profiling these teams? Only perhaps with San Fernando, which got most of the feature article. Sondheimer featured San Fernando, devoting the most ink to them and their three year coach, Mick Cady, who took over a program in trouble, but which now has more talent than most. San Fernando plays in the Northwest Valley Conference with Birmingham, El Camino Real and Granada Hills, in the 3A Northwest Valley League. The other half of the Conference, the West Valley League is 4A and includes Chatsworth, Cleveland, Kennedy and Taft.

Cady was formerly the coach at Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks where he coached seven years, winning a Southern Section CIF Championship in 1993. When he got to San Fernando, he had to perform a major house cleaning, considering the discipline and other problems. He told the Times "I swear, if you had come into the gym that first year, you would have been hard pressed to find a player." But of today's team and the situation at San Fernando, which returns all of the starters from last year's team which went 13-13, Cady says "We're very talented. The only problem I see is, since these guys havnen't won a lot, they don't know the type of situation where we walk into a gym and the other team is geared up for us. Can we get up to play ever single game?"

It's a nice problem to have. Cady says that many of his friends were surprised that he would leave Notre Dame to coach at a public school. "I'm learing more about myself than I ever would have," Cady told the Times. "I learened about not assuming that your method of teaching is working. After winning at Notre Dame, I walked away thinking, 'I could do this.' Starting new, it was, 'I don't know if I can.' "

So who's on the team? Here's only a partial roster, since Sondheimer didn't fill in the class data, we'll leave that blank. He only selected the "top" players to include on the roster. Here they are:

Devin Montgomery (6'-3' G)
Tyrone Purnell (6'-7" F/C)
Luis De La Rosa (6'-2" G/F)
Sean Atkins (5'-9" G)
Mike Page (6'-5" F)
Reggie Kinlaw (6'-3" G/F)
Bryson Atkins (5'-7" G)

Of this group, Sondheimer's article features the most information about Montgomery, who transfered to San Fernando from Ribet Academy, which plays with other very small schools in the tiny Heritage League of the Southern Section CIF. Montgomery apparently scored at will last year, and is described as being quick to the basket, as having good jumping ability, and good shooting from long range. According to Cady, he "has to learn to play with other people. That's going to be the biggest challenge."

According to Sondheimer, Montgomery and eight other San Fernando players have all been members of the same club traveling team, the Cavs, and were coached by Darryl McDonald, who could be joining the Tigers as an assistant coach later this week. That would not be at all surprising since it seems to be a Cavs tradition for its coaches to follow certain of the players into their high school careers, as Burt Stern (who also coached the Cavs) is doing with his son Nathan, who played Frosh/Soph at North Hollywood; Burt is assisting the JV and Varsity coaches this season, in preparation for next year when it is anticipated Nathan and a few others will move up.

According to Sondheimer, the transfer of Montgomery to San Fernando was granted to "accomodate a parent", but he says that school officials were not aware of Montgomery's basketball background or his ties to other San Fernando players from his club team. Apparently Montgomery lives in the Marshall High district in the Silver Lake area,but left Ribet last February and then requested the transfer from Marshall to San Fernando. According to the Times article, there was no illegal recruiting going on. "We had no idea who this kid was" said San Fernando Principal Tom Abraham.

During the summer, Sondheimer says the team quickly developed the reputation as the team to beat, defeating Santa Margarita High, one of the top teams in Orange County. We'll see.

We'll be featuring a more in-depth report about this team in the next few weeks, with more complete player profiles. In the meantime, Sondheimer's views will have to do. Oh, and by the way, it does not appear that the Times thinks his preview was important enough to include in the online version of the Valley Section of the Times. Too bad, because inquiring minds want to know.

The Swish Award

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