The New Southern California Basketball

CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Baseline League 2001-02--(Nov. 1, 2001)

Don Lugo

The Baseline League is considered one of the toughest leagues in all of CIF, particularly among the upper ends of the largest enrollment divisions.  Most (if not all) of the schools will likely be in Division I for playoff purposes, and league competition is fierce.  There have been many changes this year among personnel, with players moving, and new coaches at several schools.  The biggest change this year will be with Upland, which hired former Fontana head coach John McNally, who takes over a program from Jeff Klein (who got the Chaffey College job) which was absolutely loaded last year.  But Upland, the defending D-IAAA Section champs, graduated most of their players (9 seniors in all), so the league could be wide open again.  Glendora won the Division I-AA Section title, and Claremont made it to the semifinals of the Division I-A Section playoffs (losing to Mater Dei, a game which will see a rematch of these two schools on Nov. 28 at Glendora's "Triple Crown Challenge), so it's hard to imagine a more successful league in CIF-SS.    Here's what we know so far:

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times Inland Valley edition:  The Time published its own league preview of the Baseline League.  Here's some of what LA Times reporter Brian Robin wrote about the league:

Four new coaches at this year's Baseline League coaches meeting, the last one with the current membership before wholesale league realignment kicks in next year, and nobody wanted to ask the obvious question.

Who's passing out the name tags?

"I went to the coaches' meeting earlier in the year and everyone was a new face," Claremont's first-year Coach Sal Magallanes said. "The guy from Walnut was the senior guy in the group and he hasn't been here that long." "I'm the senior coach. How about that?" said Walnut's Aaron Cornell, who is starting his third year.

Rim shots all around. How appropriate.

Cornell and Magallanes can be forgiven for their confusion, since Yancy Dodson was only "officially" running things at Glendora last year. But doing more than hovering in the foreground -- just like he had for the previous 13 years before the 2000-2001 season -- was Mike LeDuc.

When it comes to seniority, LeDuc is so senior that if you added up the Baseline League service of his five counterparts and doubled it, you'd still be a year short of LeDuc's tenure. He starts his 15th year at Glendora after the school board wisely allowed the vice principal to serve as a volunteer coach.

"I don't look at it that way. The Baseline League is still going to be as strong as ever," said LeDuc, whose Tartans will head to the Sierra League next year. "Being that it is the last year for us being in it, and we've been in it since 1979, it's a strange and sad thing."

As if the changes on the boys' side weren't enough, Baseline girls power Don Lugo welcomes a new coach in Tony Nixon as the Conquistadores try holding off a resurgent Chino team anxious to reclaim its former dominance.

When did the Baseline League become the Nomad League?

Nixon, Magallanes at Claremont, John McNally at Upland, Rick Cook at Chino and former Chino boys' Coach Eric Highstreet moving across town to Don Lugo ... there are hotels and pizza joints without this much turnover.

You'd think the elite basketball league that produced two CIF boys' champions last year in Upland (Division 1-AAA) and Glendora (1-AA) and features a loaded Claremont team that is the No. 1 boys' squad in the area would be more stable.

LeDuc calls Claremont one of the top 10 teams in the state.

He's partial. And he's right. In 6-foot-6 forward Shaddean Aaron, the Wolfpack have the Inland Valley's best player, one who became stronger and a better ball-handler under Magallanes' weightlifting program. Claremont added Ontario transfer Cameron Munoz for outside shooting, 6-foot-7 Perrin Johnson and his size 18 feet for shot blocking and finishing on the break, and 6-6 Kenny Penn for chemistry and all-around play.

Besides LeDuc and his cautious optimism, Glendora returns all-league guards Michael Mehanna and Larry Monroe and all-league center Spencer Foster, a trio that led the Tartans to a surprise CIF title last year by surging down the stretch.

As for Upland, the Highlanders surged all season, scooting to a 33-2 record. Of course, that was with eight players and a coach who are now scattered elsewhere around the West Coast. Led by 6-5 forward Tyejuan Hatter, only four lettermen return to a team that McNally said, "realizes there is a tradition now and they're left to carry it on."

This is the year for a big, improved Walnut team to start one, which Cornell will try doing with juniors Dreshawn Vance (6-7), Vivek Vinjamur (6-5), James Gollaz (6-6) and 6-4 returner Daniel Jones. On the other end of the height spectrum, Chino will be one of the smallest teams, depending on 6-4 Tjayi Malone as the only player north of 6-2.

Don Lugo would take that, because Highstreet said the Conquistadores are a work and identity in progress. Forward Roger Amaya and swingman Glen Powers are the closest things to go-to players on a team devoid of them.

In addition to the above, on Nov. 27, 2001, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune published some information about a few (but not all) of the Baseline League teams.  In an article by local sportswriter Gabe Lacque, the writer offered the following: "Glendora, which won its fourth CIF-SS title last season, should be strong, as usual. Walnut's Mustangs are hoping for further improvement behind coach Aaron Cornell. "Claremont is going to go up a notch, and Walnut is coming up," Glendora coach Mike LeDuc said. "Sometimes, we've had really good teams in the past, but one of them didn't play well in the playoffs. This past year, we all were playing well in the playoffs." Glendora played well enough to win the Division I-AA title last season, an experience that will serve it well this year. "It was the opportunity to compete, to get six playoff games, that brings out that confidence," LeDuc said. "By winning, it doesn't hurt, but it gives you that experience that's so valuable. We were fortunate to get that experience."

Baseline Team Rosters Baseline League Schedules
Upland 10-0, 33-2 (1st)

(roster not available as of Nov. 1, 2001)--New coach and virtually all new players.  Upland graduated every player from last year's team with even the slightest varsity experience with the exception of Tye-Juan Hatter 6'-6' Sr. F, and two other guys who will see significant time: Todd Martin 6'-7" Jr. SF and
Jay Rash 6'0" Jr. G.  Given the fact that the roster last season was loaded with Division I prospects, these guys were reportedly letter-winners, but rarely got any significant minutes. With a new coach, John McNally, who led Fontana to several league titles and deep into the playoffs each year, and a whole new cast of players, this will be a brand new start for the Highlanders.   We don't have any current roster info, but when we get it we'll fill it in here.

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times:

Coach: John McNally (first year at Upland, seventh year overall)

2000-2001 record: 33-2, 10-0

Top returners:
Tyejuan Hatter (6-5, F, Sr.);
Todd Martin (6-7, F, Jr.);
Eric Holland (6-1, G/F Sr);
Jay Rasch (6-0, G, Jr.)

Top newcomers:
Bryan Burrell (6-1, G, Jr.);
Andre Lee (6-3, F, Sr.);
Julius Coleman (5-11, G, Sr.);
Lester Cole (5-9, G, Soph.)

"Outlook: Sheldon Pace, Kirk Snyder, Prentice Harris, Jesse Pruitt, Jason Harris. They're all gone, as is former coach Jeff Klein and all but four returning lettermen. McNally is shedding no tears upon his arrival. With the athletic Hatter, Martin and Rasch, the Highlanders will still create problems for athletically challenged opponents. "I think my personality is a little more loose than Jeff's was," McNally said. "We're going to push the ball up the floor a little more than Jeff would have and play more pressure defense."'


Coach: John McNally

N-28/D-1@ Clovis West Tourn
D 08 @ Calif’s Best Invitational
11-15 Upland Tourn
18 @ Ontario
26-29 @ Kiwanis Tourn
J 05 @ *Walnut
08 *Glendora
11 @ *Chino
15 *Claremont
18 @ *Don Lugo
25 *Walnut
30 @ *Glendora
F 01 *Chino
05 @ *Claremont
07 *Don Lugo

Claremont--7-3, 22-7 (2nd tie) "Wolfpack"

Cole Patton 6'-0" Sr. F
Ramar Green 5'-9" Sr. G
Charles Oliver 6'-2" Jr. G
Shaddean Aaron 6'-6" Sr. F
Eric McDermott 6'-1" Sr. G
Earl Wilson 6'-3" Jr. G
Nick Tavaese 6'-4" Sr. F
Tyler Hauck 6'-8" Jr. F
Shane O'Conner 6'-7" Sr. C
Cameron Munoz 6'3" Sr. G --transfer in
Kenny Penn 6'6" Sr. F --transfer in
Perrin Johnson 6'7" Jr. F
Jonathan Moore 6'2" Jr. PG
Earl Wilson 6' Jr. G
Nathan Upham 6'5" Sr. PF
Matt Kaplan 6'5" Jr. F
(graduated 6 seniors, poised to make a run)

Claremont returns All-CIF first team, 6'6" SF Shaddean Aaron, a player with D-1 shooting range who has been working on weights and ballhandling in the off season. Adding to this years roster is transfer 1st team All-CIF Cameron Munoz, a terrific shooter. Newcomers are Kenny Penn, who actually returns to Claremont after spending a year in Las Vegas. Perrin Johnson and  Jonathan Moore are also newcomers. Returners Shane OConner and Charles Oliver add strength and experience, while Ramar Green adds speed and quickness. Tyler Hauck and junior guard Earl Wilson will help first year head coach Sal Magallanes get off to a good start in the frontcourt.  Magallanes coached for 15 years at LA Garfield, Bishop Amat, Damien, and as an assistant at Claremont for two years under Mike Bateman. This summer Claremont played Westchester, Villa Park, Woodbridge, Artesia, Long Beach Poly, Canyon Springs, Mayfair and others and is getting prepared for a tough season ahead against league rival Glendora and the rest of the Baseline League.  

Update 11/21/01: Here's what the LA Times had to say in their Baseline preview about Claremont:


Coach: Sal Magallanes (first year at Claremont, first year overall)

2000-2001 record: 22-7, 7-3

Top returners:
*Shaddean Aaron (6-6, F, Sr.);
Charles Oliver (6-1, G, Jr.);
Earl Wilson (6-0, G, Jr.);
Ramar Green (5-8, G, Sr.);
Shane O'Connor (6-6, F., Sr.);
Eric McDermitt (6-1, G, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
Perrin Johnson (6-7, F, Jr.);
Kenny Penn (6-6, F, Sr.);
Tyler Hauck (6-8, F, Jr.);
Jonathan Moore (6-2, G, Jr.);
Cameron Munoz (6-2, G, Sr.)

"Outlook: It must be nice to be Magallanes, who took over for his promoted boss Mike Bateman just in time to win the high school basketball lottery. Aaron is the area's best player, Ontario transfer Munoz is one of the best shooters and Johnson and Moore are two of the most athletic. Magallanes took those parts, added an off-season of weight training, emphasized defense and ball-handling for some of his big men and came up with the undisputed Inland Valley No. 1 team. Last year, Claremont was the only Baseline League playoff team not to win a CIF title. The Wolfpack are expected to remedy that oversight this year."


Coach: Sal Magallanes

N 27 @ Montclair
28 @ Mater Dei
D 03 @ Chaffey
4-10 @ San Dimas Tourn
20 Ontario
26-30 @ Brea Olinda Tourn
J 05 @ *Glendora (APU)
08 *Chino
11 *Don Lugo
15 @ *Upland
18 @ *Walnut
25 *Glendora
30 @ *Chino
F 01 @ *Don Lugo
05 *Upland

07 *Walnut
Glendora--7-3, 20-6 (2nd tie)  "Tartans

4  Sean Martin 6'1 Jr. F
5 Chris Best 5'10 Sr. G
15 Larry Monroe 5'10 Sr G
21 Dean Waddell 6'2  Jr G
22 Michael Mehanna 6'3 Jr. G/F
24 Spencer Foster 6'5 Sr.F
25 Niccolo Beltran 5'9 Sr G
31 Spencer Pratt 6'1 Sr F
32 Justin Onaka 5'11 Jr G
33 Marcus Bryan 6'5 Sr C
35 Devon Roberts 6'4 So F/C
44 Richard Patapoff 6'4 Jr. C

The Tartans are defending CIF section champions, and even Sal Magallanes, the new first year coach at Claremont tells us that the league title "runs through Glendora" and literally, that's true, because with Upland a complete unknown, Glendora has got to be one of the favorites.  Larry Monroe and Michael Mehanna make up a great backcourt combination and Spencer Foster helps fill the wing and the frontcourt, but whether they'll have enough firepower to hold off a very tough Claremont team, remains to be seen.

Glendora returns 3 starters from last years CIF-SS 1AA Championship team. Gone are Kyle Bechler and Lauren Smith, but Spencer Foster, Mike Mehanna and Larry Monroe should provide plenty of firepower. Speedy Justin Onaka steps up to a starting role and brings explosiveness to the one spot. Marcus Bryan, Richard Patapoff and Davon Roberts will see significant playing time in the middle.

Long time coach, Mike LeDuc, returns to try and improve on last years 27-5 & 7-3 records in the final year of the current Baseline alignment. As in years past, it appears Glendora will battle Claremont and Upland for the Baseline crown before moving on to the division 1A playoffs.  Joining the Glendora coaching staff is Brock Jacobsen. Brock was an all-CIF performer at Crescenta Valley High and later played at San Diego University. Brock's brother Casey is currently a star at Stanford, and brother Adam is the new head coach at Crescenta Valley. Also new to the coaching staff is Cameron Murray. Cameron scored 2842 points during his 4 year career at Glendora (3rd on the all-time CIF-SS career scoring list). Cam went on to play at USC and Louisville. Cam will use his experience in working with the guards. Shim Shimizu joins the coaching staff specializing on defense. Shim coached for 40 years in the L.A. section at Hamilton High and Kennedy High. He later coached at Concordia University in Oregon. Former Glendora stars Josh Giles and Randy Rubio return to round out the coaching staff.

Update: 11/21/01:

The LA Times published their Baseline Preview,and this is what they had about Glendora:

Coach: Mike LeDuc (15th year at Glendora, 22nd year overall)

2000-2001 record: 27-5, 7-3

Top returners:
*Michael Mehanna (6-2, G, Sr.);
*Spencer Foster (6-6, F, Sr.);
*Larry Monroe (5-11, G, Sr.);
Justin Onaka (5-9, G, Jr.);
Marcus Bryan (6-5, C, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
Davon Roberts (6-4, F. Soph.);
Richard Patapoff (6-5, F/C, Jr.);
Dean Waddell (6-3, G, Jr.)

"Outlook: It's almost unfair. LeDuc guides an underrated Glendora team to a CIF title and he gets three of his best players back. The intense Mehanna, the energetic Foster and the athletic Monroe are a trio of returning all-leaguers. "They blend together. You're bringing energy, intensity and athleticism together and everyone fits in around them," LeDuc said. Rest assured that with those three and LeDuc handling things, the Tartans will go far. Exactly how far depends on how players like Roberts, Patapoff and Waddell fit in around them."

Update 11/27/01:    The San Gabriel Valley Tribune published its preview of Glendora. Here's wht they had to say:


Glendora Tartans
Head coach: Mike LeDuc
Tenure: 15th year
Record at school: 381-55

Top returnees:
Michael Mehanna (Sr. 6-2 G)
Spencer Foster (Sr. 6-5 F)
Larry Monroe (Sr. 5-10 G)

Glendora has one of the toughest guards in the area in Mehanna, and the Tartans return five of seven players from their CIF-SS Division I-AA championship team. The team should be hardened from last year's battles against the likes of Upland and Mater Dei in league and playoff competition.

Not a lot of depth and size, though the Tartans weren't that big last year and they ended the season with a fourth CIF-SS title. The Baseline league, however, produced two CIF titlists and one semifinalist.

Bottom line:
With Upland breaking in a new coach and losing most of the top players off probably its best team ever, the Baseline League is again up for grabs. The Tartans proved last year they could win a CIF-SS title without a bona fide superstar; there's little reason to think they can't enjoy similar success this season. Expect them to battle Claremont -- which also has a new coach -- for the league title and make another run deep in the playoffs.


Coach: Mike LeDuc

N 28 @ Quartz Hill Tourn
D 5-8 @ Cage Classic
10-15 Glendora Tourn
D 26-29 @ Seattle Tourn (Bellevue, WA)
J 05 *Claremont (@ Azusa Pacific U)
08 @ *Upland
11 @ *Walnut
15 *Don Lugo
18 *Chino
19 @ La Canada (Pasadena CC, McDonald's Invitational)
21 @ Temescal Canyon (MLK)
25 @ *Claremont
30 *Upland
F 01 *Walnut
02 @ Nike Extravanganza (vs. Westminster)
05 @ *Don Lugo
07 @ *Chino

Chino--3-7, 8-18 (4th)

We don't have any roster information available at this time (Nov. 1).  Chino didn't make the playoffs, and because they didn't we have no media sheet from last season. At leasst we know where and when they'll be playing: At right is the official CIF schedule for Chino's 2001-2002 season.

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times:

Coach: Rick Cook (first year at Chino, 23rd year overall)

2000-2001 record: 8-18, 3-7

Top returners:
*Ryan Putman (6-3, C, Sr.);
*Tjayi Malone (6-4, C, Sr.);
*Aaron Marcy (5-11, G, Jr.);
*Robert White (6-2, F, Jr.);
Johnny Dominguez (6-0, F, Sr.);
Chris Nafis (5-9, G, Sr.)

Top newcomer:
Jason Kinkert (6-2, F, Jr.)

"Outlook: The first thing Cook did when he arrived at Chino last spring was petition for late -- and solo -- gym time. "That's a much better teaching situation," he said. That speaks volumes about Cook's approach to his work, which defines the term old-school. There's no talk about wins and losses and plenty about teaching. Marcy, Malone and Putman, who will miss at least six games while playing football, are Cook's best three students. A winner everywhere he's been, Cook has a team of perimeter players and finds himself encountering the oldest coaching maxim in the book: he can't coach height."


Coach: Rick Cook

N 30 @ Montclair
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
10-14 @ El Dorado Tourn
21 @ Pomona
26-29 Chino Tourn
J 05 @ *Don Lugo
08 @ *Claremont
11 *Upland
16 *Walnut
18 *Glendora
25 *Don Lugo
30 *Claremont
F 01 @ *Upland
05 @ *Walnut
07 @ *Glendora

Don Lugo--2-8,  7-20 (5th)

Because Don Lugo didn't qualify for the playoffs last season, we didn't have any info on them when we first posted this preview.  But thanks to the LA Times, which printed it's Baseline Preview on 11/21/01, we now have some info:

Coach: Eric Highstreet (first year at Don Lugo, third year overall)

2000-2001 record: 7-20, 2-8

Top returners:
*Kevin Plutko (5-11, G, Sr.);
*Mike Guzik (5-10, G, Jr.);
*Charles Fender (6-3, F, Sr);
Roger Amaya (6-1, F, Jr.);
Richard Snyder (6-2, F, Sr.);
Kenny Van Holland (6-4, F, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
Glen Powers (6-1, G/F, Jr.);
Perris Kelly (6-4, C, Jr.).

"Outlook: Since moving over from Chino High, Highstreet is still trying to figure out what he inherited from former coach Steve Hebert. "We could play really solid and have a good year, or we could struggle. That depends on whether our returning guys play like returning players," he said. It will also depend on who steps forward and assumes the scoring burden, who steps forward and assumes the leadership burden and how quickly Highstreet integrates all of the above. Even if it all falls in place, the Conquistadores are still looking at a best possible finish of fourth."


Don Lugo
Coach: Eric Highstreet

N 27 Wilson/HH
29 @ Norco
D 4-7 @ San Dimas Tourn
10-15 @ Troy Tourn
18 Damein
26-29 @ Cantwell Scrd Hrt Tourn
J 05 *Chino (APU)
08 *Walnut
11 @ *Claremont
15 @ *Glendora
18 *Upland
25 @ *Chino
30 @ *Walnut
F 01 *Claremont
05 *Glendora
07 @ *Upland

Walnut--1-9,   6-19 (6th)

Roster for 2001-2002:

Michael Lee 6'-0" Jr. PG
Ricky Fischer 6'-0" So. SG
Darnell Gilbert 5'-11" Jr. SG
Frank Kim 5'11" Sr. SG
Vivek Vinjamur 6'-5" Jr. G/F
Henri Pamphile 6'-1" Jr. G/F
Alan Kim 5'-11" Sr. G/F
Dreshawn Vance 6'-7" Jr. F
Josh Davis 6'-3" Jr. F
Daniel Jones 6'-5" Sr. C
James Gollaz 6'-6" Jr. C
Yuji Kimura 5'-10" So. PG
Harris Liu 5’-11" Sr. G
Chad Michelson 6’0 Jr. G 

Head Coach Aaron Cornell
Assistant Coach Stan Tolliver
Assistant Coach Andy Schultz

Walnut’s Record last year was 6-19 which was an improvement from the 2-22 record the previous year and things are looking up for the Mustangs this year. Head Coach Aaron Cornell finally has the size and speed this year to compete in the Baseline League which is considered one of the toughest leagues in all CIF, and not a moment too soon, because Walnut will be leaving the Baseline League after this season.  They will be led by returning all-league center Daniel Jones who has worked on his quickness and speed an should give Glendora's Spencer Foster some trouble this year. Dreshawn Vance and Vivek Vinjamur will give the Mustangs some additional strength and height up front. In the backcourt they’ll have one of the better shooters in the SGV in 6’1 sophmore SG Ricky Fischer and at the point 5’11 junior Michael Lee who is a tough defender.  Walnut hasn’t been to the CIF playofffs in 8 years but this year they should have as good a chance as they've had ever. This summer the team had a respectable 15-7 record and in the Sept.28-30 “Empire Slam Tournament” at AB Miller tied for first in their pool,  losing only to Etiwanda but beating San Bernardino and Perris High. If Walnut can stay injury free they should have their best season in many years.

We got a note from Coach Aaron Cornell, and he had this to say about his team:

"We are expecting another year of growth and a welcome exit of the Baseline League. Returning all-conference player Daniel Jones will be the player we look to lead us in virtually all aspects of the game. Ricky Fischer, Vivek Vinjamur, and Dreshawn Vance are new comers who should help us compete in the always tough Baseline League. The goal of the team is to improve on the previous year and to minimize mistakes made in previous games. We want to compete in the league and find a way to make our first appearence in the CIF playoffs for the first time in 6 years. Our team is dominated by underclassmen who will be asked to carry a large load for the first time at the highest level of competition. We are building for the future but we have to accelerate the growth rate. We will play as hard as we can and successfully conqueor each task, one at a time."

Hey, it's hard to ask for more than that.  Good luck this season.

More from the LA Times, 11/21/01:

Coach: Aaron Cornell (third year at Walnut, third year overall)

2000-2001 record: 6-17, 1-9

Top returners:
*Daniel Jones (6-4, C, Sr.);
Frank Kim (5-11, G, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
Dreshawn Vance (6-7, C, Jr.);
Vivek Vinjamur (6-5, F, Jr.);
Michael Lee (6-0, G, Jr.);
James Gollaz (6-6, C, Jr.);
Ricky Fischer (5-11, G, Soph.)

"Outlook: It's rather sad for the Mustangs that they're leaving the Baseline League just as Vance leads a tall flotilla of players coming in, because this team will improve. The 230-pound Jones, an all-league pick last year and the only senior who will see extensive playing time, is the only familiar face on a team that will be the league's X factor this season. "There isn't a weak link here. This is our best chance in the three years I've been here," Cornell said."

And still more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune which published selected team previews, among them Walnut:


Walnut Mustangs
Head coach: Aaron Cornell
Tenure: Third year
Record at school: 15-23

Top returnee:
Daniel Jones (Sr. 6-4 C).

Top newcomers:
Vivek Vinjamar (Jr. 6-5 F)
Dreshawn Vance (Jr. 6-7 C)
Ricky Fischer (So. 6-0 G)
Michael Lee (Jr. 6-0 G)

Jones and Vance make this year's team among the biggest in recent years at Walnut. Cornell has depth to work with, and Jones, who averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds in earning all-league honors as a junior, gives the Mustangs someone to build around.

Youth. Though the Mustangs should be much-improved, integrating so much young talent into the lineup isn't easy in the Baseline League.

Bottom line:
This is the Mustangs' final year in the league, probably a good thing since they've never reached the level that Glendora, Upland and most recently Claremont have established in recent years. But the Mustangs should be competitive against the big three, and should more than hold their own against the rest of the league.


Coach: Aaron Cornell

N 20 Wilson
27 Bassett
D 3-8 @ Arroyo Tourn
12 Rowland
14 Nogales
18 Diamond Ranch
20 @ Damien
28-29 @ Nogales Tourn
J 05 *Upland
08 @ *Don Lugo
11 *Glendora
15 @ *Chino
18 *Claremont
25 @ *Upland
30 *Don Lugo
F 01 @ *Glendora
05 *Chino
07 @ *Claremont

The Times also had some news about an event which doesn't appear on anyone's schedule below (except Glendora's), which is going to be known as the Basline "Super Saturday" a series of six league-opener games for all the boys and girls teams in the league.  The event will take place January 5, 2002 at Azusa Pacific's brand new arena facility, one of the best in the region.   According to Times' writer Lance Pugmire, "Baseline League Super Saturday, a six-game blitz of boys' and girls' basketball to be played Jan. 5 at Azusa Pacific University, is a brilliant idea. The league's six schools (Chino, Claremont, Don Lugo, Glendora, Upland and Walnut) will play their league openers that day beginning at 10 a.m. The premier game of Super Saturday is expected to be Claremont's boys' team versus Glendora in the nightcap. In the Inland Valley Times' preseason top 10 boys' poll released today, the Wolfpack are No. 1 and Glendora is No. 2. Unfortunately, the best game has created the biggest headache." Pugmire, who regularly covers the Inland Valley, and the Baseline League in particular, for the Times, had some great information on the event:

Glendora Coach Mike LeDuc, who joined former Don Lugo boys' coach Steve Hebert in making the event their brainchild, isn't pleased his Tartans drew the late game and were assigned to play the designated home game away from the comfortable confines of Glendora's gymnasium.

"They have a big home-court advantage; it's huge," said former Claremont boys' basketball coach Mike Bateman. "The rims at that gym are different. They're all bouncy. Glendora draws a lot of fans. That team has won a lot of championships and you see the banners walking into the gym. It's a tough place to play."

LeDuc said he was under the impression Super Saturday would be a preview event, with league powers Glendora, Claremont and Upland playing Don Lugo, Chino and Walnut. Instead, the magnitude of the day's results has increased tremendously.

"I feel crummy about that," LeDuc said. "This was my idea, but somewhere along the line my plan was lost."

LeDuc doesn't want to be painted as a whiner, though, and insists he's come to accept the situation. It still irks him, however, that he made it clear the Tartans needed to play a morning game and were instead dealt a 6:30 p.m. tip-off.

"We run city youth leagues at our gym every Saturday afternoon," LeDuc said. "Our players coach, referee and scorekeep all the games. When we play the [one-day] showcase games, we always play the morning game, so our kids can be back in time for the youth leagues."

Upland Athletic Director Jim Drake said he served as moderator of the Sept. 19 meeting of Baseline League ADs, in which they randomly drew game-time assignments out of a hat.

"Everyone knew who they would play from the start," said Drake, who was joined at the meeting by his Glendora counterpart, Paul Lopez, among others. "And everything was fine at the meeting."

Baseline League principals approved the schedule Oct. 11 by a 5-1 vote, with Glendora's Dave Walesiak dissenting. Walnut, which will play Upland, and Don Lugo, which meets Chino, will split the gate revenue with Glendora, although concession profits will be kept by Azusa Pacific.

While Drake and LeDuc agree that the concept of the series should be continued, even though Upland and Glendora will be in different leagues next year, the inability to strike a compromise speaks to the rivalries that have been fostered on the court.

Former Upland coach Jeff Klein and LeDuc were never chummy. Claremont athletic officials were perturbed last season when Glendora refused to agree to delay the league-opening game between the boys' teams when it was scheduled at Claremont during Christmas break. "We won the game, so I guess we won that in the long run," Bateman said. Certainly, LeDuc would like nothing better than to say the same thing in this instance.

The LA Times also published an interesting piece as part of it's prep preview of the Baseline League on the   subject of transfers and the ways in which California's "Open-Enrollment" law has changed the way players (and parents) are viewing their athletic choices these days:

* The potential winning union between Cameron Munoz and Claremont High is an example of how the open enrollment policy adopted by CIF has changed high school athletics.

By Patrick Laverty /

CLAREMONT -- He has one of the smoothest outside jumpers around and that's exactly where it has been. Around.

It's been taken to three high schools, honed under four coaches and perfected in numerous gyms.

Now in his senior season, Cameron Munoz will add one more jersey to his collection. He'll finish his high school career at Claremont, the top-ranked boys' team in the Inland Valley. Yes, Cameron Munoz is a transfer. He's one of three that should contribute heavily to the Wolfpack. And, no, Munoz hasn't done anything wrong.

Transfers have become as common as Los Angeles traffic.

Munoz's Ontario High team of 2000-2001 not only had the left-hander come in from Chino, but also added David Stepney from Chaffey High.

Fontana High has lost four standouts in the past two years, with Wesley Washington and Travante Nelson going to private-school power Mater Dei prior to the 2000-2001 season and Cory McJimson and Aaron Gipson leaving for Eisenhower and Etiwanda, respectively.

It's not just basketball either. Baseball standout Jordan Swaydan left Damien High after the 2000-2001 school year to play on Bishop Amat's nationally-ranked team and Alta Loma High's football team was forced to forfeit five nonleague victories when one of its transfers was ruled academically ineligible.

Players are changing schools with ease thanks to the CIF Southern Section's open enrollment policy, a bylaw that has altered the landscape of high school athletics.

While many who transfer insist they rely on the policy for self-improvement, there are burdens attached to moving. Parents of transfers are sometimes subjected to speculation they've shopped their children to the most athletically successful schools with less regard for academics. Returning players unseated by transfers could feel betrayed by their school officials for depriving them of playing time. Teams that take on too many transfers can be accused of adopting a win-at-all-costs mentality.

For better or worse, the open enrollment policy is how Munoz found his way to Claremont.

The Southern Section allows high school athletes one transfer during their high school career after his or her initial enrollment as a ninth-grader in a four-year high school or a 10th-grader in a three-year high school.

According to the Southern Section's blue book, the transfer cannot be the result of a disciplinary action, nor can the receiving school give preference to a student based on his or her athletic performance.

Munoz first transferred from Chino High, where he played varsity basketball as both a freshman and sophomore. He arrived at Ontario prior to his junior year, a move that was approved by a valid change of residence. After the completion of last season, Munoz began contemplating using the open-enrollment rule to his advantage.

"Looking at the big picture, there were a lot of uncertainties at Ontario," Munoz said.

Jaguars Coach Jerry DeFabiis initially accepted an offer to replace outgoing Claremont coach Mike Bateman, but backed away from the deal after realizing he was still short of credits required for his teaching credential.

Ontario also lost most of its major contributors from last season's squad, which advanced to the CIF Division 1-AAA semifinals before losing to eventual champion Upland. Point guard Andrew Alhadeff now plays at the University of Redlands, while leading scorer Marlon Mitchell and forward Brandon Kinney are at Cal State Bakersfield.

"[DeFabiis] played kind of a big role in it," Munoz said. "But I always thought about it before. [Ontario] had a lot of seniors and that always entered my mind. With [DeFabiis possibly taking the Claremont job], that was really the backbreaker to the whole thing."

So instead of playing for what could be a rebuilding Ontario team, where Munoz would have been the standout player capable of averaging 25 points, he finds himself in a situation similar to last season. He's part of a balanced squad with CIF title hopes.

The question is how the move will affect Munoz's hopes of earning a college scholarship. He said he hopes playing on a team that should receive significant attention from recruiters. Claremont has a date with Mater Dei next week and the Wolfpack roster includes other college hopefuls, such as exceptional forward Shaddean Aaron.

""You don't have to average 30 a game to get your Division 1 college scholarship, but you have to control the game, get your teammates involved, and when you have the open shot, take it," Munoz said.

But will there be enough balls to go around to Munoz, Aaron, transfers Perrin Johnson and Kenny Penn, as well as point guard Ramar Green?

"There's been some controversy about that, but I think we really do," new Claremont Coach Sal Magallanes said. "The offense that we're running is a motion offense and the kind of play that I'm teaching involves everybody to get touches with the ball."

The Wolfpack's talent level is on par with that of last season's Upland team. The difference is the Upland players spent four years together, while Claremont's core group will be playing together for the first time as seniors.

Adjusting to new teammates hasn't been a problem in the past for Munoz. His move to Ontario was almost as smooth as his jump shot because he grew up playing junior basketball with Alhadeff, Mitchell and Kinney among others. But with Penn returning from Las Vegas to Claremont, where he was raised, and Johnson coming to the school from Riverside, the Wolfpack still have a chemistry test to pass.

Munoz said he's had no problems with relocating, academically or socially. Self-described as an outgoing person, Munoz had the advantage of summer league to adapt to his new teammates and Magallanes said there has been little hesitation among Wolfpack returning players about accepting Munoz and the other transfers.

"That's one thing that's been great about these guys," Magallanes said. "The [junior varsity players] coming up and the returning varsity guys have always been welcoming of those guys. They've had the opportunity to bond with each other because we've played a lot of games in the summer.

"These guys have been through a lot together."

Of course, they'll be going through a lot more this season, a season that should determine whether Munoz made all the right moves.


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