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CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Ocean League 2001-02--(Nov. 22, 2001)

OCEAN LEAGUE
Beverly Hills
Centennial/Compton
Culver City
El Segundo
Hawthorne
South Torrance
Torrance
West Torrance

The Ocean League is usually one of the more competitive leagues in the Southern Section and with teams like Compton Centennial and El Segundo, they often have excellent athletes, and sometimes even more than a few legitimate D-I prospects, e.g., Ellis Myles  of Centennial who is now at Louisville,  Anthony Coleman (Xavier), and many others over the recent past. This year, Centennial is on probation and will be for one more year after this season, largely stemming from the failure to turn in paperwork relating to the incoming transfer of several athletes, including Tony Key, Antonio Griffin and others.   The school is, as far as we know, still eligible for the playoffs, and they will probably be loaded again.

We could have included these teams among the "small enrollment schools" previews, because the reality is that this half of the South Bay Athletic Association (the other half is comprised of the teams in the Bay League) tends to dominated year after year by the smaller enrollment division schools:  For example, El Segundo is a IV-A team but will likely move up to IV-AA with the new divisional alignments.  Last year (2000-01) El Segundo lost in the first round of the IV-A playoffs to Valley Christian Cerritos, a wild-card team which eventually lost to Section champion Crespi in the second round).   But the real domination of the league has come for the past few years (at least since the arrival of coach Rod Palmer from Compton) from Compton Centennial which is Division III.    Last year, like the year before (e.g., the 1999-2000 season), Centennial was a bridesmaid, but never a bride, losing two years in a row in the finals to eventual Section (and State D-III) Champs Bishop Montgomery. 

But we've chosen, despite trying to go with an arbitrary cutoff at D-II, to list this in the "large enrollment" previews because the majority of the league really does consist of large enrollment school:  Culver City was II-A last year and will likely move up a slot to II-AA.  Culver lost in the second round last season to section champion Redondo Union after beating Lompoc in the first round.  Likewise, Beverly Hills was in II-A,   Hawthorne in I-AA, and South Torrance, West Torrance and Torrance were all II-A last season, and again, like the others, will either stay there or move up a half a division to I-AA depending on the CBED enrollments.

What follows is what we know about the teams thus far this season, which means in some cases, we've got accurate info, and in others we're forced to look at old rosters to predict who will be returning and which younger players will be stepping up.  The schedules are accurate as far as we know. We encourage coaches to send us their official rosters (via e-mail) and any other information about their teams so we can update these previews.

Update 11/27/01:   The Long Beach Press Telegram's "Prep Sports" section (also a website) featured it's boys' basketball prep previews today and yesterday (11/26 & 11/27), and among the leagues and teams featured was a brief rundown by staff writers James Melroy and Ted Kian on the Ocean League.  Here's the excerpt on the Ocean League which can be found as part of the story in the link above, and understandably, even though the league covers a wide geographic area, the preview blurb focuses only on Compton Centennial, the only school in the paper's coverage area--other papers, cover schools such as El Segundo, etc., i.e., the Daily Breeze, LA Times, etc.):

Whether it's on or off the court, Compton Centennial is always one of the more intriguing schools to follow. The Apaches lost a lot of size in the frontcourt with the departures of Antonio Griffin and Tony Key. But with Centennial coach Rod Palmer at the helm, you can be sure that the Apaches will be fun to watch. This season, Centennial will sport one of the best backcourts in Southern California. Sophomore Aaron Afflalo will be handling most of the point guard duties and will be paired in the backcourt with fellow sophomore Gabriel Pruitt, already one of the top players in Southern California.

Ocean League Rosters Ocean League Schedules
El Segundo--10-4, 16-11 (1st tie)

We received a preview and a roster from someone with some inside knowledge of the El Segundo program for the 2001-2002 season. Here it is:

Dave Bassily Sr. F 6"4 230
Berger, Aaron Sr.G 6"0 180
Dave Cryan So.G/F 6"1 170
Tino Gomez Sr. G 6"0 170
Jeramie Hopson Sr. G/F 6"3 190
Shaun Kemp Sr. F 6"4 220
Mike Lebow Sr. G 5"7 160
Deandre Mathieu Jr. G 5"7 160
Mike McCullough Sr.G 6"1 180
Dustin Russle Sr. G/F 6"2 190
Mike Smith Sr. F 6"6 240
Dashawn Strong Sr. G/F 6"6 220
Steven Urrutia Jr. F 6"5 225

Outlook:  Our source tells us "We are going to be a strong team this year. We won league last year and have all returning players with varsity expierience. The league MVP's Dashawn Strong and Jeramie Hopson are returning along with a couple strong new players that will add size and speed."   Not bad for the smallest school in the league.

Update 11/27/01:   The Torrance-based Daily Breeze published their Ocean League Preview, including capsules of the teams in the Ocean League within the paper's coverage area written by Daily Breeze sportswriter Vincent D'Angelo (the original article is at this link...which may eventually become outdated, so here's an excerpt pertaining to El Segundo):

"The future has become the present for El Segundo's basketball team, which has 11 seniors on its roster.  'What we were last year we are not this year,' Coach Rick Sabosky said. 'We can't say we are young and waiting any longer.'  What the team was last year was 16-11 overall and co-champion of the Ocean League with a 10-4 mark. The season ended on a down note, however, as El Segundo was ousted in the first round of the Division IV-AA playoffs, losing 56-36 to Valley Christian. Sabosky believes El Segundo has enough depth and experience to avoid a quick exit this year.  Returning to the nest are the Eagles' top two scorers, Jermaine Hopson and Deshawn Strong. The former averaged 20.1 points per game, and the latter 19.9. Hopson hit 83 3-pointers and Strong led the team in rebounding, hauling down 9.6 per game. '(Hopson) is just a pure athlete. He does what you need to do,' Sabosky said. 'Deshawn (will be) our inside force this year. He is so fast and explosive. Both of these guys are getting a lot of interest for co-MVPs of the league.'  Joining Hopson and Strong are a host of capable components. Senior point guard Mike McCullough brings an all-guts-no-glory persona that is important to winning teams. 'He just does so many things for us,' Sabosky said. 'He is the returning captain from last year, he's our leader on the floor, he dives, takes charges, makes the pass, whatever it takes. He just gets the job done.'  Off guard Tino Gomez and secondary post player David Cryan round out the starting five for El Segundo. Gomez, a scrappy rebounder, will play the weak side. 'Everybody in the league was determined to stop Deshawn and Jermaine, and (last year) if you could (stop) one or both you could stop us,' Sabosky said. 'But this year, we are going to adapt with Tino, Mike and David. Those guys are just going to get better and better and surprise people.' El Segundo best's weapon may be the team's desire to win as a unit.  'We are a stronger nucleus,' Sabosky said. 'We are both happy and excited. They are all committed to get better.' "

 

El Segundo
Coach: Rick Sabosky

N-28/D-1 @ Serrano Tourn
D 3-8 El Segundo Tourn
18 *Hawthorne
26-29 @ Garces Tourn
J 04 *Torrance
07 @ *Beverly Hills
09 @ *South Torrance
11 *Culver City
16 @ *West Torrance
18 @ *Centennial/Com
23 @ *Hawthorne
25 @ *Torrance
28 *Beverly HIlls
30 *South Torrance
F 01 @ *Culver City
05 *West Torrance
07 @ *Centennial/Com

South Torrance--10-4, 17-8  (1st tie) "Spartans"

South Torrance, which tied for first, largely because Compton Centennial was required to forfeit 9 wins as a result of using an ineligible player, graduated 11 seniors from last year's roster.  Here's what some insiders to the program gave us and what we know from last year's playoff roster about the returning players.  The roster will be:

Scott Wilson 6'5" jr. C
Kevin Ritchie 6'4" jr. F
Tyler Graham 6'3' jr. F
Sean Flynn 6'3' jr. SG
Shane Nolan 6'0" so.PG
James Neino 6'3" jr. F
Shaun Stanfield 6'2" jr.SG
Adam Shrank 6'1"sr.F/G
Farbod Azizi 6'2"sr. F
Danny Oshiro 5'8"sr. PG
Matt Reyes 5'7"jr. PG
Trevor Hiroshima 5'9" SG

Last year's team that finished in a tie for 1st (after Compton Centennial's forfeits), and graduated all but one player, Azizi. This team is virtually last years JV team that went 10-4 in the Ocean League. The Spartans should be led by high scoring forward Ritchie,hot-shooting Flynn, who is also the QB on the football team and has seemingly unlimited range,and heralded super-soph PG Nolan. Compton Centennial and veteran El Segundo should fight it out for the League title with a real dog fight for the third and fourth placings.

Update 11/27/01:   The Torrance-based Daily Breeze published their Ocean League Preview, including capsules of the teams in the Ocean League within the paper's coverage area written by Daily Breeze sportswriter Vincent D'Angelo (the original article is at this link...which may eventually become outdated, so here's an excerpt pertaining to South Torrance):

"South Torrance loses two all-league first-team players, Matt Peterson and Clete Albitz , both gone to University of San Diego, and Un Koh , a second-team all-league player. The Spartans will rely on their outside shooting and defense to defend their league title. Sean Flynn and Kevin Ritchie bolster the front court, and two seniors, Danny Oshiro and Farbod Azizi, will man the backcourt. South has no returning starters and will start three juniors and two sophomores, so experience is a concern. Sophomore guard Shane Nolan and junior forward Tyler Graham will be expected to contribute off the bench."

 

 

South Torrance
Coach: LaMont Henry

N-29/D-1 @ Nordhoff Tourn
D 11-15 @ Rancho Cucamonga Tourn
26-29
@ Estancia Tourn
J 02 *Centennial/Com
04 @ *Hawthorne
07 @ *West Torrance
09 *El Segundo
11 @ *Torrance
16 @ *Culver City
18 *Beverly HIlls
23 @ *Centennial/Com
25 *Hawthorne
28 *West Torrance
30 @ *El Segundo
F 01 *Torrance
05 *Culver City
07 @ *Beverly HIlls

Culver City--9-5, 14-11 (3rd)  "Centaurs"

We have not received any current info on the Centaurs, but based on last year's playoff rosters, here's who is expected to return:

Jusatin Goins  6'-3" Sr. F
Marlon Towns  5'-7" Sr. G
Judon Harris  5'-7" Sr. G
Nestor Dordoni  6'-2" Sr. F
Youseff Hulse  6'-3" Sr. F
Jarrod Tennant  5'-7" Jr. G
Austin Waggener 6'-6" Jr. C
Gary Liggins  5'-11" Jr. G

 

Culver City
Coach: Jeff Perry

D 3-8 @ Beverly Hills Tourn
4-7 @ Jordan Tourn
J 02 @ *Beverly Hills
04 @ *West Torrance
07 *Centennial/Com
09 *Hawthorne
11 @ *El Segundo
16 *South Torrance
18 *Torrance
23 *Beverly Hills
25 *West Torrance
28 @ *Centennial/Com
30 @ *Hawthorne
F 01 *El Segundo

Compton Centennial--7-7, 9-18  (4th) "Apaches"

As noted above, Compton Centennial has had a rash of students transferring into the school from all over the country (e.g., Antonio Griffin from Arizona--now at LACC, as well as Tony Key, who declared for the NBA but was not drafted and is also now at LACC playing for the Cubs), and as a result of the fact that the Apaches used a player who was declared ineligible by the CIF, the school was also placed on probation for a period of two years, but not banned from post-season play.  As we understand it, Centennial pleaded their case by alleging the players were eligible but simply had not turned in the necessary paperwork;  the probation as we understand it relates to the requirement that all such necessary be turned in timely by the school "or else." . . . We don't have curernt roster info, but we do know about some of the players returning.  Here's what we know:

Aaron Afflalo 6'-2" So. G
Cory Burrell 6'-3" Jr. G
Sterling Byrd 6'-5" Sr. F
Jonathan Smith 6'-1" Sr. G
Gabriel Pruitt 6'-0" So. G

The Apaches graduated 7 seniors, but return two of the most talented young guards SoCal in Gabe Pruitt and Aaron Afflalo, and if this team is like any of Coach Palmer's teams in the past, they won't rebuild, they'll reload, and we expect them to be a solid contender for a league title again.

 

Centennial/Compton
Coach: Rod Palmer

D 6-8 @ Sacramento Jesuit Tourn
27-30 @ Modesto Chr Tourn
J 02 @ *South Torrance
04 *Beverly Hills
07 @ *Culver City
09 *West Torrance
11 @ *Hawthorne
16 *Torrance
18 @ *El Segundo
23 *South Torrance
25 @ *Beverly Hills
28 *Culver City
30 @ *West Torrance
F 01 *Hawthorne
05 @ *Torrance
07 *El Segundo

Torrance--7-8, 12-14 (5th) "Tartars"

We recently heard from Coach George Tachibana, and here's what he said:

"Note: as of this printing the roster is still not 100% set, but this is the probable season roster.

Paul Davis 6'-2" Sr. F
Dustin May 6'-0" Jr. F
Chad Kramer 6'-4" Sr. C
Scott Atkins 6'-0" Sr. G
Ryan Crespin 6'-2" Jr F
Lance Keys 6'-3" Sr. F
Kevin Finney 6'-0" Jr. F
Emmitt Karlay 5'-7" Sr. G
Allen Major 5'-9" Jr. G
Robert Nelson 5'-11" Jr. G
Darian Slider 6'-6" Jr. F
Deandre Thompson 6'-2" Jr. G
Jaquain Weary 6'-1" Jr. G
Marshawn Williams 5'-6" Sr. G
COACH: George Tachibana

"Torrance finished 4th place in league last year and lost to Compton Dominguez in the first round of C.I.F. Only 2 games separated the top 4 teams last year, Torrance was still in contention for first place going into the final two games.

"We return 6 varsity players, 3 of who were starters. The Tartars are led by a 3-year starter at point guard, senior Marshawn Williams a first team all league selection. The other returning starters also have been on the varsity since their sophomore year, they are seniors Paul Davis (a 6’2" swingman) a tremendous all-around player and Lance Keys (a 6’3" forward) who is a force inside and in addition, is an all-ocean league wide receiver. Also returning for their second year on varsity are two sharp-shooting guards, senior Scott Atkins and junior Dustin May, both had high games of more than 20 points last year. The final returning varsity player is senior Chad Kramer, a 6’4" center who is a tremendous shot blocker and passer. Top newcomers this year are juniors Ryan Crespin, a 6’2" swingman who can score from anywhere, and three event track star Kevin Finney, a 5’10" forward that may be the best athlete on the team. Rounding out the squad are Deandre Thompson, a 6’2" forward, Emmitt Karlay, a 5’7" guard, Allen Major, a 5’9" guard, Robert Nelson , a 5’10" guard, Darian Slider a 6’6" center, and Jaquain Weary 6’1" guard/forward.

"Team Strengths: Quickness, outside shooting, very deep, athletic, experience.

"Outlook: Should be very competitive in league once again."

Update 11/27/01:   The Torrance-based Daily Breeze published their Ocean League Preview, including capsules of the teams in the Ocean League within the paper's coverage area written by Daily Breeze sportswriter Vincent D'Angelo (the original article is at this link...which may eventually become outdated, so here's an excerpt pertaining to Torrance):

"Torrance loses three starters this season, including first-team all-league selection James Chang and second-teamer Michael Williams Jr. But the Tartars reload with three third-year varsity players. At 5-foot-6, Marshawn Williams (Michael's younger brother) is Torrance's only player under 5-11. He has a tough pair of shoes to fill, but Coach George Tachibana predicts big things for the shooting guard. Second-year starter Scott Atkins , a swingman who also plays volleyball, and center Lance Keys , an all-Ocean League wide receiver, bring versatility to the floor. Paul Davis (6-2) will play every position on the floor, including the point when Williams gets a breather. Torrance has six players with varsity experience and it will have to use all its veteran guile to keep opposing teams off the boards and improve on its 7-7 league record of last season."

 

Torrance
Coach: George Tachibana

N-26/D-1 @ Mira Costa Tourn
D 3-8 @ El Segundo Tourn
20 *West Torrance
26-29 @ La Quinta Tourn
J 04 @ *El Segundo
07 *Hawthorne
09 @ *Beverly Hills
11 *South Torrance
16 @ *Centennial/Com
18 @ *Culver City
23 @ *West Torrance
25 *El Segundo
28 @ *Hawthorne
30 *Beverly Hills
F 01 @ *South Torrance
05 *Centennial/Com
07 *Culver City

Beverly Hills--5-9, 9-15 (6th tie) "Normans"

We received the following roster from Jason Sanders, the second-year coach of the Normans:

Isaac Aftalion 6'-3" Sr. G
Mike Sabet 6'-3" Sr. G
Max Shapiro 6'-2" Sr. G
Brian Taban 6'-2" Sr. G
JoJo Masoudi 6'-0" Sr. G
Bobby Djavaheri 6'-2" Jr. F
Sinqua Walls 6'-2"  Jr. F
Shawn Zaman 5'-6" So. G
Ryan Kim 6'-3" Jr. F
Alrieza M. Bayat 6'-5" Sr. F
Ramtin Shahian 6'-1" Jr. F

The Normans didn't make the playoffs last year, and that may be another tall task for the Normans in a very crowded and talented Ocean League. They'll need to be very good perimeter shooters and quick on defense to have a chance. They do have some excellent guards, so perhaps they'll manage to get the fourth spot, or a wild-card berth.

 

Beverly Hills
Coach: Jason Sanders

D 3-8 Beverly Hills Tourn
12-15 @ Sylmar Tourn
26-29 @ Hollywood Tourn
J 02 *Culver City
04 @ *Centennial/Com
07 *El Segundo
09 *Torrance
11 @ *West Torrance
16 *Hawthorne
18 @ *South Torrance
23 @ *Culver City
25 *Centennial/Com
28 @ *ElSegundo
30 @ *Torrance
F 01 *West Torrance
05 @ *Hawthorne
07 *South Torrnace

Hawthorne--5-9, 8-19  (6th tie)

We have no roster information at all.  Although it's not shown in the schedule at right, Hawthorne will be appearing in the 49th Annual Pacific Shores Tournament, so we'll get a chance to check them out at that time.  In the meantime, if anyone out there has a roster, send it in by e-mail

Update 11/27/01:   The Torrance-based Daily Breeze published their Ocean League Preview, including capsules of the teams in the Ocean League within the paper's coverage area written by Daily Breeze sportswriter Vincent D'Angelo (the original article is at this link...which may eventually become outdated, so here's an excerpt pertaining to Hawthorne):

"Hawthorne's Michael Washington is the player to watch after three starters departed. Coach Joe House plans on running his offense through the senior and team captain, so Washington should see an increase in his scoring. Hawthorne is an athletic team and will rely on its shooting and speed. The Cougars are expected to substitute with great frequency, trying to exploit as many match-ups as possible. Junior Marcel Montalban will flash the post from the forward and center positions. Hawthorne hopes some of his experience will rub off on 6-5 starting freshman center Michael Shelton . House believes his team has the necessary height and experience to wind up in the CIF playoffs, but the shooting of Washington, Montalban and junior point guard Bilmar Washington will go a long way in determining Hawthorne's fortunes. "

 

Hawthorne
Coach: Joe House

D 18 @ *El Segundo
J 04 *South Torrance
07 @ *Torrance
09 @ *Culver City
11 *Centennial/Com
16 @ *Beverly Hills
18 *West Torrance
23 *El Segundo
25 @ *South Torrance
28 *Torrance
30 *Culver City
F 01 @ *Centennial/Com
05 *Beverly Hills
07 @ *West Torrance

West Torrance--3-11, 10-16 (8th) "Warriors"

West Torrance made the playoffs, and based on the roster from last year, here's who we believe will be returning: 

Brad Dolick 5'-11" Sr. G
Adam Savage 6'-0" Sr. G
Dewayne Hollyfield 6'-5" Sr. F
Paul Nitake 5'-10" Jr. G
Chris Brown 6'-3" Jr. G

The Warriors graduated 8 seniors and just missed out on the necessary number of wins to qualify for the playoffs (they needed 11 wins overall), despite finishing last in league.  They are usually tough and quck if lacking in height and you never know what they'll throw out on the floor.  They could be a contender, or again a cellar-dwellar.

Update 11/27/01:   The Torrance-based Daily Breeze published their Ocean League Preview, including capsules of the teams in the Ocean League within the paper's coverage area written by Daily Breeze sportswriter Vincent D'Angelo (the original article is at this link...which may eventually become outdated, so here's an excerpt pertaining to West Torrance):

"West Torrance coach Karim Girgis is out to prove that last year's slide to 10-15 was merely an aberration. He looks for West to rebound to become the sort of deep, hard-working team that won the league title two years ago. West, however, lacks experience. Starting point guard Jon Wilson , a junior, returns to play after taking a year off. Chad Hunt , who will see significant playing time in the backcourt, is a freshman. But Girgis has confidence in both players, especially Hunt, who has the ability to blossom into a premiere player in the league. Shooting guard Paul Nitake is the lone returning starter, but sixth man Dewayne Holyfield and junior swingman Brad Dolick are back to resume their roles as well."

 

West Torrance
Coach: Karim Girgis

N 26 @ Mira Costa Tourn
D 03 @ El Segundo Tourn
20 @ *Torrance
26 @ Santa Barbara Tourn
J 04 *Culver City
07 *South Torrance
09 @ *Centennial/Com
11 *Beverly HIlls
16 *El Segundo
18 @ *Hawthorne
23 *Torrance
25 @ *Culver City
28 @ *South Torrance
30 *Centennial/Com
F 01 @ *Beverly Hills
05 @ *El Segundo
07 *Hawthorne

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