Prep Preview and Report
Harvard Westlake--October 6, 1997
What do you do for an encore when you've just won the State CIF Championship, had most of your starters, including the deservedly-touted Collins twins, Rico Cabrera, and Ryan Smiley graduate (the Collinses to Stanford to play for Mike Montgomery, Cabrera to a prep school--Worcester, and Smiley to Penn where he'll be a walk-on)? Is it a rebuilding year, or is the Junior and Sophmore class just as talented?
The answer is probably yes to both questions. It is most decidedly a rebuilding year for H-W, and the competition knows it. San Diego Uni is reportedly returning most of its starters, and they would seem to be a lock for the division in CIF barring injury. Nevertheless, don't count H-W out, since they have as talented a group of Sophs, Juniors and Seniors as any school in SoCal.
Returning players include Victor Munoz (6'-0" Sr. PG), who is as talented as any PG on the West Coast, and who did very well at the Pump Brothers Shootout and West Coast All Stars this past summer. Munoz has reportedly already had home visits from Yale, Penn, and Portland. Although Michael Miller's West Coast Hoops described Victor's play at the Pump West Coast All-Stars as being "overwhelmed" by the more athletic players, he was, in fairness described as a good floor-General in need of a more organized style of play, rather than the free-for-all style of the camps. Victor will lend his experience and floor skills this year to lead H-W.
H-W is certainly not lacking in size, with one player at 6'-7", two at 6'-5", and a whole bunch of guys at 6'-2" or 6'-3". Let's look at who's who:
First, there's returning Center Pat Biggerstaff (Sr.) who at 6'-5" is a strong inside player, with a very strong left hand move to the basket, who also has good defensive skills and is an excellent rebounder. Then there's Marquis Love, also a Sr., who at 6'4" also has strong inside moves and is a good rebounder.
The real nucleus of this team will be made up of the newer Soph players, Juniors and some Sr.'s returning and moving up from JV, as well as some transfers, a water polo player and some football players who double as b-ballers.
Foremost among the newer players is Chad Garson (Soph. 6'-3" SG/SF), who plays tenacious defense, and can put up the J from well out beyond the three-point line. Chad was a member of the Maccabi Team LA 15-16 Boys' Team which took the Bronze medal in Seattle this last summer (along with Micah Cohen of Montclair, Josh Glass of Campbell Hall and Darren Tarlow of Chaminade Prep), and Chad also attended the Pump West Coast All Star's, where he was a solid contributor, and according to Dana Pump likely to be a hot prospect to watch in the next two years. In a game against Marshall High today (10/5/97) in ARC off-season (i.e., non-high school team) league play (on a team consisting of H-W players), Garson scored 17 points, including 3 three's and 4 two's.
Also coming up this year will be Eric Geffner (Soph., 6'-4"), who was also on the Maccabi's but on a different team than Garson, the 13-14 Team LA Boys' Basketball squad which took the Gold in Seattle (co-coached by Jerry Gale (David Gale, Buckley) and Chad Garson's father Lee Garson). Eric will develop his inside game as he grows into his size, but is well able to rebound and put up three's all day with the best of the 2 and 3 position players on any team; he can play backcourt or frontcourt, although he'll need to put on some weight before he attains the next level with his inside game. Eric also plays for the H-W ARC squad in fall ball currently, as well as for the 4D All Stars. Assisting Garson and Geffner in the front court will be Anthony Naylor F/PF (6'-3" Soph), a big man with a good inside game and fine perimeter shot.
H-W also has a Soph transfer from LaJolla High in Alex Holmes, who at 6'4" and 245 pounds will surely be an asset. Holmes has huge hands, a strong inside game, and is said to be a "Wes Unseld-type" of player. While I haven't seen him play, he reportedly has a strong offensive game, and good low post moves.
Another incoming transfer for H-W is Dan Kinzer, a Jr. standout water polo player, who at 6'-7" is easily the biggest player on the team. Kinzer has a nice perimeter game, runs the court very well for a 3/4, and can shoot the J out to about 17" with great finesse. He's not Jason or Jarron Collins, but then who at the high school level is besides a Prydzbilla, or some of the other hot big men around the country; while he doubles at water polo, Kinzer will nevertheless be a very solid contributor to this team.
Players returning or coming up from the JV also include Alex Minn (Jr. 6'-1"), who has a good outside game and plays at the 2 or 3 spot, Ike Udeze, a Sr. returning JV player, who at 6'-1" also plays the 2 or 3 very well, as well as Brian Burkett (6'-3", Jr.) who should be coming up from the JV to bring his strong inside game and developing perimeter game.
Russel Lakey (5'9" Soph) who plays the 1-2 could be the next backcourt star in waiting with good speed and lateral quickness. Also assisting in the backcourt will be John Terzian (5'-11" Jr.) who returns from the varsity and is currently the quaterback of H-W's varsity football team. Another player moving over from the football team will be star running back Justin Logan (6'-0" Soph/Jr/Sr??), who has very strong defensive skills and goes to the hoop well. Assisting in the backcourt will be John Karabas (5'-8") who plays the 1-2 very ably.
While Coach Hilliard surely has his work cut out for him, and many may say that this will indeed be a rebuilding year, H-W has the size, speed, depth and maturity to take it's game well beyond the next league championship, deep into the sectional and divisional playoffs. Look for good things from this team.
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