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La Salle High: A Team Full of Guards--(October 29, 1997)

La Salle High School plays in the Santa Fe League of the CIF Southern Section, competing with Bell-Jeff, Cathedral, Don Bosco (in football only), Mary Star, Murphy, Salesian, and St. Genevieve. The boys' varsity basketball coach is Steve Goldstein, who has been coaching for 17 years, the last 8 at La Salle, and for the last few summers has co-coached the Team Los Angeles Maccabi Boys' 15-16 Basketball teams, including the one that took a bronze medal in Seattle this year, and the Maccabi Team last year which featured David Bluthenthal (6-7 Sr F, Los Angeles Westchester).

During year's season, La Salle made it to the CIF Semi-Finals. Goldstein's goal this year is to "find out how hard the road back to the playoffs is going to be." They'll have some pretty stiff competition, mostly from Bell-Jeff and Ruben Douglas (6-4 SR PG/SG) who's going to be able to focus completely now that he's committed to Arizona and won't have to worry about the recruiting process. . .unless, of course, he changes his mind. . .

La Salle is not a big/tall team this year. In fact, there's no one over 6'-3" (but there are a lot of 6'-3"'s here), so expect to see a lot of running, gunning and speed, and hopefully some good defense if they expect to make it past teams like Bell-Jeff. Their anticipated starting center is only 6'-3" (get used to hearing that number), so they'd better come out running and not look back. You'll be able to get a good look at how they might stack up against some of the better competition before the season officially starts: La Salle and Temple are hosting a December 26-30, 1997 "Tip-Off" Tournament (pool play at both gyms, championship round at La Salle). So far the roster of teams includes the following:

Marshall (Pasadena); Santa Fe; Mid City Magnet (could be a very tall and fast group of guys, but they are generally a mystery until the season starts); Temple City; Franklin; Bosco Tech; Reseda (coached by Dave Enowitz); Alhambra; El Monte; Montclair Prep (coached by Howard Abrams, featuring Rocky Steryo (6'-3" G), Jed Hall (6'-8" C), Jason Anderson (6'-9" F), Micah Cohen (5'-10" G), Carlese Clark, Kevin Bentley, and Greg Jones, 6'-7" 14 year old freshman); Montebello; Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, coached by Rob DiMuro); Village Christian, and defending State CIF Champions Harvard-Westlake.

We'll be getting the full tournament rosters and schedules soon and will post the brackets for you as soon as we get them. In the meantime, back to La Salle.

La Salle's roster this year includes:

Aki Aquino (6'-0" Sr. SG)--Aki was an All-League player last year, and is likely to repeat again this year. He's the real scoring threat for this team, has a pretty good handle, and can shoot out to the 3 with pretty good regularity.

Joey Williams (6'-3" Soph C)--Joey is Steve's project this year and by the start of the season he hopes to turn Joey into a center. He's got big hands, and can play tremendous defense. According to Goldstein, he can guard "anyone, from the point to any big guy inside."

Jason Kenoyer (5'-8" Soph PG)--Jason is being brought up this year from the freshman team. He's got a great handle, and unlike so many of the younger points, he looks to pass first rather than cut and shoot first and pass second. He's smart, and quick; his only real weakness will be his relative inexperience at varsity ball.

JR Davidson (6'-1" Jr. F)--Davidson is the most athletic member of the team. He played JV last year and was one of the leading scorers. Look for him to continue the big scoring. While he's a bit small for a "true" forward, he's got a nice J, and in a three wing type of offense and a lot of fast breaking and transition he'll do very nicely

John Esandon (5'-8" Sr. G)--John will lend some much needed experience. His first instinct is to shoot first, pass second, and is good going to the hole. His biggest asset: very tenacious defense. He will need to work on his jumper though, which was a bit inconsistent last year; he's been working hard over the summer, so we'll see.

David Taylor (6'-2" Sr. F)-- David will probably be the other starter at the 3-4 spot. He's really a football player: 210 lb., tailback and a D-I prospect. He's got very good leaping ability and can clean the glass pretty well for a guy who's 6'-2".

Others on the team include:

Andres Jimenez (6'-3" Sr. C)-- Andres will be one of two backup centers this year. He's a big body at 235, and without a really big post player this year, he'll probably see a lot of playing time.

Joe Meyers (6'-3" Sr. C)--Why is this starting to sound repetitive-- is everyone 6'-3"? Just about. Meyers will also provide backup at the center position, and may see a little time at forward as well. Oh yeah, he weighs 230, so like Jimenez, he can put a body on someone.

Frank Avila (6'-3" Jr. F)-- Oh, c'mon, not another 6'-3" player. . . Yes, Avila will get some playing time as well at the 4 spot, and may even be called upon to play the post from time to time.

Albert Aquino (5'-8" Soph G)-- while Albert (Aki's brother) probably won't work into the starting rotation this year, he'll see some significant playing time. Goldstein thinks he's got the potential to be one of the truly great point guards in the area, and has tons of talent.

Goldstein is hopeful about this year, but not overly-confident. He knows that without a big post player this year, that he'll have to count on speed and tenacious defense. While we can joke about everyone being 6'-3", it's certainly not all bad to have a team that size, providing that they can shoot the ball and work the floor. Goldstein is a fine coach, and if anyone can coax a successful season out of this group he can do it. The rest, as they say, will be up to them.

The Swish Award

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