Pity Bruce Carlisle, the boys basketball coach at Whitney High School in Cerritos.
Carlisle guided the Wildcats to the Southern Section Small Schools Division title and the Division III state championship final using all underclassmen on his starting team. And each had a scoring average in double figures.
In fact, next season Carlisle returns eight players from his 10-man team, including Small Schools co-Most Valuable Player Matt Bowley. But he said several of this year's key players will be pushed by an even better group of junior varsity players next season.
"They're going to make me look like a great coach," he quipped.
Carlisle's "plight" sheds light on the selections for The Times' All-Southeast boys and girls basketball teams. Half of the members of the teams are underclassmen. Nine are making a second consecutive appearance on the team.
More People, More Talent
"There are a lot of talented kids coming up," said Don Mead, whose Irvine-based scouting service is known nationwide for its ability to spotlight top players before they graduate. "The area is getting bigger; more people all the time. It's a natural fact that the more people you have, the more talent there is."
But Mead believes coaches often overemphasize underclassmen.
"I see a lot of good, neglected seniors," he said. "There are lots of good underclassmen, but there are a lot of good seniors too."
The All-Southeast teams are two of 20 selected from 10 Times circulation areas in Southern California. The players will be honored at an awards brunch Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Coach Jim Harrick of Pepperdine University will be the guest speaker. Players of the year and coaches of the year will be announced at that time.
The 10 selections on each team made by a vote of coaches and sportswriters: BOYS
Steve Balstad, St. John Bosco--Balstad was chosen the Del Rey League's MVP despite the fact that the Braves finished tied for third place and failed to make the playoffs. At short forward, he was usually double-teamed, but that often worked to his advantage. According to Braves Coach Jim Wilsak, "He has strength and loves to score through people."
Keith Billingslea, South Gate--Billingslea makes his second appearance on the team. The 6-2 guard, who led the area in scoring with 31 points a game, will attend Fresno State next season. He has been chosen All-City Section the last two seasons and was recently cited as South Gate Student of the Week by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Matt Bowley, Whitney--A junior forward, Bowley was named Express League MVP, Player of the Game in the Southern Section Small Schools Division final (won by Whitney) and co-MVP of the Small Schools Division. He averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds a game.
Steve Fendry, Warren--At 6-6, the senior forward was expected to carry the scoring load for Warren this season. But in a typical "big man" fashion Fendry set a school record for most assists (17) in a game. Explained Bears Coach Jay Young: "He's a good floor leader and really prefers to play like a guard. . . . " Fendry also averaged 17 rebounds a game and, although the Bears finished fifth, was voted co-MVP of the San Gabriel Valley League.
Mike Goodcase, Whittier Christian--The 6-2 guard, who set a school record of 129 steals, was a key ingredient in the Heralds' 25-game winning streak. Goodcase hit 80% of his free-throw attempts and made 53% of his field goals, though the majority of his shot attempts were from the 18- to 20-foot range, Coach Bill Cuccia said.
Kevin Holland, Cerritos--Holland, a repeater on the team, was the premier player in the area before the season began and his notoriety dogged him all year. Signed by DePaul University before the season, the 6-6 forward faced a barrage of double and triple teams, match-up zones and other defensive maneuvers designed to slow him down. "There were times when Kevin was stopped," said Coach Ian Desborough, "but that's only because he was Kevin and they knew what he could do (if they didn't guard him closely)." Despite the attention, Holland averaged 18.6 rebounds and shared league MVP honors with Fendry.
Anthony Jenkins, Pius X--Warrior Coach Mike Murphy feels that Jenkins is "one of the top three juniors in Southern California." The 6-4 guard has been the object of recruiters from colleges across the nation--including UCLA, Syracuse, Nevada Las Vegas and Maryland--since last summer when he was rated among the top 20 performers at the Superstars Camp. Jenkins, who averaged 21.7 points a game, has a 3.36 grade-point average.
Todd Morrison, Whittier Christian--At 6-7, the Olympic League MVP doesn't fit the big-man stereotype, according to Coach Cuccia. "Todd was the hardest-working big man to play for me here in 10 years," Cuccia said. "He was an inspiration. He would dive for loose balls." The center also went after rebounds, grabbing an average of 11 per game as Whittier Christian finished second with a 25-1 record in the Southern Section's 1-A Division.