The New Southern California Basketball
Prep Preview and Report
Thousand Oaks High School--(November 7,1997)

"We're just going to go out and play"--Richard Endress

Richard Endress is the first year varsity coach at Thousand Oaks High School. He takes over the program from long time varsity coach Ed Chevalier (who also has a son at TO in the jv program this year). Ed will still be teaching at the school, but decided that the time had come, after 17 years, to let someone else give it a try.

Endress described TO as a team "in transition". A few of the bigger kids they were expecting in the freshman class, including Scott Borchart (6'-7" C) didn't materialize. In the case of Borchart, he elected to go to private school and will be at Chaminade Prep in West Hills playing with Scott Long. Another big kid went to St. Bonaventure. There have been injuries, and three of the returning varsity are now playing football, so they've been unavailable to the basketball team.

Endress has been at TO for the last 8 years, and has been the JV and varsity baseball coach during that time. He's a graduate of CSUN, with a degree in PE, and has been teaching for 20 years. He first taught at Carver Jr.High, where he coached former NBA, LSU and Crenshaw star John Williams. He then moved to Newbury Park where he was the JV and assistant varsity coach under Ken Barone, and worked with Barone when he was an assistant at UCLA. Endress loves working with kids, has run summer camps for little kids each year, and attributes his desire to teach youngsters as the prime motivating factor in his decision to enter coaching.

This year's roster includes three seniors who are playing football, two sophomores, only one junior, and no freshmen. TO plays in the Marmonte League, with Agoura H.S., Camarillo, Channel Islands, Newbury Park H.S., Royal, Simi Valley, and Westlake. Endress thinks that the "obvious" powers in the league, Simi, Newbury Park and C.I. will be difficult, but "not unbeatable". With regard to the recent news of the "Simi situation" involving transfer Ian Boys, Endress would only say, that "as coaches, we've probably already wasted too much time talking about it. We'll just go out and play them, and hope they have an off night."

The roster at TO this year includes:

Kelone Dixon (5'-8" Soph PG)
Jason Dixon (6'-3" Sr. F)
Kahil Fennel (6'-3" Soph. C/F)
Chris Fidyk (6'-8" Sr. C)
Marcus Flournoy (6'-3" Soph. SG/F)
Jason Furino (5'-10" Jr. SG)
Brandon Nelson (5'-11" Sr. SG)
Bas Van Rhee (6'-6" Sr. C/PF)
Tyler Williams (6'-4" Sr. F)
Roy Hamilton (6'-5" Sr. C)
Charles Soodavar (5'-11" Sr. PG/SG)

The two Dixons are not related. Kelone will start at the point. He's up from JV last year, has a great handle, is strong, quick and plays very good defense. He'll handle the up-tempo game that TO will play this year very well. He's really more of a penetration point who likes to shoot from inside with the layup or the short J; he's not really a pass-first type of PG; he'll need to develop his outside shot this year to complement his speed and handle, but he can bring the ball up hard and break down a D off the dribble, either left or right and get inside. He'll be the team leader for now.

Jason Dixon will play the three spot. He's back from varsity last year, but didn't see a whole lot of playing time. He's a very strong player with a great body; he loves to lift weights, and enjoys playing inside. He's got pretty good defensive speed, and is known as a shot blocker; his shot blocking has been known to get him into foul trouble so he'll have to work on his selection. He's also a pretty good slash and cut player who likes to go to the basket on offense.

Kahil Fennel will be the center, at least for a while by default because of a hip injury suffered last week by Chris Fidyk which will probably sideline him for the next 6 weeks. Kahil is thin and angular, not really widebody, but he can play the 5, and is a good all-around player who even has a pretty good handle. He can play the high and low post well, and has a good outside shot too. If Fidyk returns he'll be spending some time at PF/ Center and Fennel will move over to the swing position, where he's really more suited; for now though he'll share the inside with Hamilton and Williams. Fidyk is probably one of the smartest guys on the team, and is a big presence inside. He has a nice touch, a good outside shot, and is a dominating shot blocker who has good lower and upper body strength. He's being recruited by Columbia and Claremont-McKenna, so you know he's an excellent student.

Marcus Flournoy will also see considerable time at the forward spot, but only if he recovers from knee surgery which he underwent last spring. He's a great fundamental player, and was the leading rebounder on the jv last year; even if he doesn't return in time this year, Endress figures he's got two more years to show everyone what he can do.

In the backcourt, besides Kelone, will be Jason Furino at the 2 spot, and Charles Soodavar who will mostly play 2, but backup at the point. Soodavar is currently playing football, returning kickoffs and if he stays healthy and injury free should bring some added speed to the team. He's not as good a PG as Kelone, and probably enjoys playing the 2 guard better, as does Furino. Soodavar is very tough to guard, and has good outside range too. Furino is really the three-point specialist, and will give TO a good outside threat; he's very quick off the dribble, plays great D, and will be a leader in steals this year. Also in the backcourt will be Brandon Nelson, who will back up at the 2 spot. He's got great overall skills, nice footwork and is probably the best defender on the team; he'll need to work on his range though, since he's really only effective out to about 15' with any real consistency.

Bas Rhee will also see considerable time at center until Fidyk returns. He's about 205 lbs., and is very powerful inside, a strong rebounder, who plays very well with his back to the basket; he's probably also the best leaper on the team. He's attracting some attention from a few D-III schools, and is also being sought by Loyola Marymount. He's also a pretty good student and should have no trouble qualifying.

Tyler Williams and Roy Hamilton, at 6'-4" and 6'-5" respectively are both playing football for the first time this year, and will be returning from varsity last year. Williams is a tall, thin player who likes to get inside and penetrate; he's got a very long arm span, and uses it with great effect when combined with good footwork. He plays pretty nice D, but he'll have to step it up a bit against teams like Simi; he's not much of a J artist, and really is more effective around the rim. Hamilton is good both inside and outside, and between he and Bas, they will probably cover most of the chores at the post. Hamilton can also launch the three pretty effectively too, so he adds to the outside threat.

How well this team will do is really anybody's guess. Endress really does believe this is a team in transition: Transitioning from a long-time coach to a new first year coach; from football to basketball; from injury to health; from jv to varsity. How well they'll do remains to be seen, but I think that Endress is being modest and that TO will challenge for the league and will see action in the playoffs.

The Swish Award

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