Consistent excellence is the quality that links Banning High's Eric Cooper and San Pedro's Jack Kordich, who were named The Times South Bay basketball player and coach of the year, respectively.
Cooper, a 6-4 senior guard, averaged 23 points in leading Banning to the City 4-A semifinals and--the mark of a champion--increased his output to nearly 30 per game in the playoffs. Cooper's points came outside on a nearly bionic jumper and inside, where he used his jumping ability for offensive rebounds and an assortment of impressive dunks.
Moreover, Cooper's steadiness and feel for the game were always evident. Banning Coach Don Nichols noted that his star "sees the floor as well as anyone I've ever had" and predicted a big future for Cooper, who will attend the University of Arizona. Manual Arts Coach Reggie Morris tabbed Cooper "the best guard in Los Angeles."
Kordich led San Pedro to its third straight Eastern-Marine League title and an appearance in the City 3-A championship, its first since the days of Willie Naulls in the 1950s.