The New Southern California Basketball
Prep Preview and Report
Jeff Young's Chaminade Prep --October 17, 1997

This afternoon, as I was busy working on something else, the phone rang. It was Jeff Young, the fourth-year coach at Chaminade High (also officially known as "Chaminade College Preparatory"), located in Chatsworth. As we've been preparing these high school previews, we've had the opportunity to speak with some enthusiastic coaches; Scott was more than enthusiastic about this year; he seemed charged, pumped, ready to rock.

And for good reason. His team this year is deep, smart, tall, fast, athletic, smart, quick, smart. Oh, did I say they were smart? Collectively the team GPA is 3.5. Several of the players have averages over 4.0. None of these guys will ever have any problems qualifying; there's not a Prop.48 among the bunch. A few potential Rhodes and Marshall Scholars, but no non-qualifiers.

Jeff Young prides himself on being a teacher and a coach. He comes from a coaching family; his father coached with Gene Bartow, and Jeff grew up in the Bruin locker room during the Bartow years. Jeff lived in Simi Valley, and later went to LA Lutheran when it was located in Burbank, where he played the 1-2 spot as a member of the CIF 1A Champions in 1984. His biggest contribution was as a defensive player, although he did get to bring up the ball quite a bit. He went to Valparaiso in Indiana where he was a 6'-0" 155 lb. "split" scholarship/walk on. After not seeing much time off the pine during his two years at Valparaiso, Jeff transferred to Cal Lutheran, a D-III school where the first year the team went 5-21, and the second year they went 16-16, and went to the D-III "Sweet 16" for the first time in the school's history.

It was also at Cal Lutheran where Jeff met his real mentor, Coach Mike Dunlap (currently the coach of Metropolitan State in Denver of the Rocky Mountain Conference, and a former Australian professional coach). Jeff had graduated from Cal Lutheran with a degree in Business Admin., and after two months had decided that being a "suit" didn't suit him. (Sorry for the bad pun, but it was Jeff's not mine). It was coach Dunlap who gave Young his first real taste of coaching, first as a two-year, unpaid assistant, and during that same stint, as a head coach of the school's JV team, which played local junior college teams. Young did very well, placing in the top 5 and winning the JV league each year. When Dunlap told him that he was leaving to go to Australia, Young was asked to go with him, but opted to stay, preferring to troll the coaching waters locally before trying any foreign shores.

It was just after Dunlap had left, that Young, while working at a local restaurant as a waiter got a call from the dean at Chaminade, who had gotten his name from Dean Bradshaw, the coach at Simi High. The dean told Jeff that there was an opening as the head basketball coach, and if he was interested he should come over to interview. Jeff interviewed, quit the restaurant and started working as a geography and math teacher and head basketball coach the following Monday. He's been at it for the last four years, and he's been incredibly good, and also incredibly lucky with the talent he's getting at the school. While his dream is to coach in the college ranks, for now he considers himself lucky, blessed by fate, good karma, or the deity.

How lucky?

Consider this:

Scott Long (6-5 Sr. PF/C) Chaminade's most well known prospect, two-time All-League Scott Long, may not even be the best pure talent on the squad this year, but he'll be among the toughest and hardest working. He's certainly getting the most attention from D-1 schools this year. Long is excellent, in fact he's considered one of the top prospects this year, being heavily recruited by Navy, the WCC schools (USD, Santa Clara, Pepperdine) and West Point. The word is that he'll probably go with one of the military schools. He's such a determined, hard working guy, the military style would probably suit him best; there's no doubt he fits their mold: tall, strong, hard-working and dedicated, and smart, with a 3.79 GPA. While most consider him a post player, this year expect to see more of him at the 3 spot than at center. During the summer he played with LA Rockfish and had the opportunity to work on his outside game, which he'll get a chance to show off some more this year. Scott is very athletic, has great feet and post moves, but he can also shoot the J out to about 17 feet. While he's an excellent rebounder, better than most other 6-5 guys, his real strength on this team will be his shooting, according to Young. He played well in Las Vegas and at the EBO Tournament this last spring, and at the West Coast All-Stars this last summer. Look for him to be a major force this year in the Mission League, and don't expect to let anyone push him around. Nobody pushes Army or Navy around.

Scott Borchart (6'-7" Fr. C)--This guy is the reason you'll see Long playing at the 3 more this year. He's really a true freshman, only 14 years old, but according to Young, he may be the best player at Chaminade "ever". I haven't seen him, but others who have have seen him agree. More on him during the season here. Oh yeah, did I say he was smart? He's got a 4.0 GPA. He's being recruited by a lot of D-2 schools and some of the WCC schools as well.

Justin Beach (6'-6" Sr. SG/F)--Justin is a transfer from Camarillo High, where last year he averaged 19 ppg. He's also getting a lot of interest from D-2 and WCC schools this year, but most people think he's an unknown commodity. Fundamentally he may be the best 2 in the league this year, and maybe in SoCal. He's very tough, has a great perimeter shot, and can put in the threes all day long. Justin is about 195, and he can put a body on someone. Oh, did I say he was smart? He's got a 4.2 GPA (amazing. . .in my day you took AP classes and only got college credit; now you get to add points to a GPA. . .is it inflation, or what?)--no matter, Beach is smart. He's also being recruited by lots of WCC schools and by Metro State (gee, what a coincidence).

Cayce Cook (5'-10" Jr. PG)--Ask Young who his best kept secret is, and he'll tell you its Cook. Ask him who has the most athletic ability, and he'll probably tell you it's Cook. Ask him who the most overlooked player on his team is by the scouting services and other Internet pundits, and he'll tell you it's Cook. Young believes that this man is truly a D-1 major PG prospect. This last summer, Cook went up against Shantay Legans and according to some who were there, simply "annihilated" Legans, to the point that he wouldn't even bring the ball up the court against Cook. Same thing with Compton's DeAundre Moore, another top prospect this year, who reportedly couldn't go against him (and couldn't stay with him) either. Neither could Bradley Jackson from Inglewood (who may one day end up playing with Cook if Bobby Braswell has anything to say about it). According not only to Young, but also others who witnessed these summer games, Cook is outstanding, a true talent. He's quick, can break down the d like nobody's business, and can shoot. Oh yeah, did I say he was smart? He's a 3.5 honor student. Cook actually comes by his talent pretty honestly: He's the son of Darwin Cook, an ex-NBA and European pro, who put in journeyman time with New Jersey, San Antonio and in Italy, and who's now an assistant coach for Lorenzo Romar at Pepperdine. Perhaps that's why this kid isn't getting the press some people believe he deserves; maybe someone figures why bother to recruit him when his dad gets a "home visit" every day, and will probably have the last word? Pretty short-sighted view, and if I were any major D-1 school, I'd be getting the word out to this guy to keep my school in mind when it comes time to commit. Hey, look at this kid, because, as Young told me, "good things usually happen to good people." You'll be seeing more of Cook as the years roll by.

Justin Stewart (6'-2" Sr. PF)-- a 6-2 power forward? You bet, especially one who's a Division I wide receiver at 195, who is being recruited by ASU and other Pac-10 schools in football. He's tough, hard-nosed and strong. He's also a good student (gee, only a 3.0. . .among this crowd?). Young describes him as "absolutely a great kid", who'll see some major playing time this year.

Matt Chirba (6'-5" Sr. F/PF 215lbs)-- a great prospect, probably will see lots of time this year. I believe Young told me he was a starter last year, but I could have gotten that wrong. Again, I've not seen him play, but Young had only good things to say about him. Strong, agile and intelligent.

JJ Todd (6'-10" Jr. C)--Young thinks this kid is the first truly legitimate Center that Chaminade may have seen come through the door. While he's just learning to walk in his size 20 shoes, he can still manage to run a 5:50 mile. Todd is getting a "ton" of mail from the colleges, and he'll be a real project this year. He can shoot though, and has a nice perimeter shot out to about 15-16 feet. Again, he's only a junior and still growing. Whoa.

Robbie Tanouye (5-10 Jr. PG)--last year Robbie saw some major minutes during the run when Chaminade went to the Final Four. How good is his handle on the ball? He only had 3 turnovers all year. Look for him to be among a trio of PG's including Cook and Nick Lawson.

Nick Lawson (5'-10" Jr. PG)--not another 5-10 PG. Yup. And he can shoot and take care of the ball. Although not as quick as Cook, he's a transfer from Kentucky and plays that style of ball found there. Good, solid fundamentals, nice court vision.

Ryan Chicon (6'-2" Sr. G/SF)--Ryan was a defensive standout last year,and a great rebounder. Look for a repeat performance from him playing swingman this year coming off the bench.

Josh Levy (6'-4" Jr. SG/G)--so why isn't a 6'4" "great shooter" starting at the 2 spot; probably because there's already a 6'-6" guy there. Levy is a consistently good shooter, who should be a major contributor this year.

Mike Kokorowski (6'-2" Sr. G)--like Justin Stewart, a very strong athletic player. Oh yeah, did I say he was smart? He's got a 4.3 GPA, a 1350 on his SAT (which he'll take again to improve it some), and is also Student Body President. Look for him to go to MIT or Cal, maybe not as a player, but as someone the rest of the guys on this team will want to keep in touch with over the years.

Chris Canoles (6'-3" Jr. F/PF)-- he's the reason that Chaminade will be able to put on the full-court press this year. He's quick, strong, and probably the next D-1 WR football prospect after Justin Stewart goes this year.

This team is deep. So deep that Young believes his bench goes about 12 deep in possible starters, and they'll carry 16 players this year. If we forgot to mention anyone here, it's just because I ran out of time. I'm sure that Young will send me a complete roster and an e-mail with info on other players we may have left out (hint, hint Jeff, send that e-mail soon).

Lastly Young also mentioned a few youngsters who will most likely be coming up next year. One he particularly noted was Darren Tarlow, a strong, big, quiet kid, who will be seeing some major time this year on the JV. Darren (6'-2" Fr.) was considered for varsity, but Young (unlike some coaches) didn't see the point in depriving him of the valuable playing time he'll get as a starter for JV coach Brian Camacho (formerly of Bell-Jeff fame). Darren played on this year's Team LA Maccabi 15-16 team coached by Howard Abrams of Montclair, and while he didn't see a whole lot of playing time due to an unfortunate injury in the first game, Darren is a fine defensive player, with good feet and a strong move to the basket. He's also got a nice J out to about 20'. And while I didn't get his GPA, you can bet that if he's going to be among this group, he's probably pretty smart too.

Yeah, Young's enthused. He's charged. And with good reason. He's got a great bunch of guys to work with, and a whole season ahead of him to prove to the rest of us why he's so optimistic.

The Swish Award

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