Since its inception in 1983, the Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular has been one of the showcase events for summer high school basketball in the Southland.
And tournament organizer Jorge Calienes, coach of Bosco Tech, is taking a big event and making it bigger.
The tournament, which started with 16 teams, has expanded to 24, and Calienes says there were an additional 20 on a waiting list for this tournament, which starts at 1:30 p.m. today at Bosco Tech in Rosemead. He expects it to be a 32-team affair by next year.
"It just keeps getting bigger and bigger," Calienes said. "This is the biggest waiting list I've ever had. We could have easily gone to 32.
"I even had to turn away some coaches who have sent their teams here before, and some of them are my friends."
Talent Comes First
That may have spoiled a few friendships but it has not diminished the caliber of teams in the tournament, which will feature most of the top CIF Southern Section and L. A. City teams except state champion Crenshaw.
"We try to pick the teams that have the most talent," Calienes said. "We invited Crenshaw but they don't play in tournaments as a team after the Watts Games."
This tournament is headed by top-seeded Mater Dei, which won the CIF 5-A Division championship last year, and No. 2 Fairfax, favored to win the City 4-A title.
Other top teams are No. 3 seed Simi Valley, which finished second in CIF 4-A last year, and No. 4 Serra, which placed second in CIF 5-A.
The San Gabriel Valley will be represented by Muir, which won the CIF 4-A title last season; CIF 2-A semifinalist Edgewood, Bosco Tech and Pasadena.
Bosco Plays Palisades
In first-round games today, Pasadena faces Pius X at 2:30 p.m., Bosco Tech meets Palisades at 3:30 and Edgewood plays Culver City at 5:30. Muir, seeded eighth and with a first-round bye, meets the winner of today's Long Beach Poly-Alemany game in the second round at 1 p.m. Friday.
In other first-round games, Don Lugo meets Santa Ana at 1:30, Thousand Oaks faces St. Francis at 4:30, Glendale takes on Redmond of Washington at 6:30, Rolling Hills plays Westchester at 7:30 and Long Beach Poly takes on Alemany at 8:30.
Mater Dei, Fairfax, Simi Valley, Serra, Dominguez, Ocean View and Inglewood join Muir with first-round byes. Second-round games are Friday, the quarterfinals are Saturday and the semifinals and finals are Sunday.
Muir, which may be the top valley team in the tournament, is led by a tall front line that features 6-7 junior Wayne Womak and 6-7 senior Kirk Wagner. Other top players are 6-0 senior point guard Derek Brown and 6-2 senior guard Keyjohnna Owens, who helped Muir post a 29-3 record and beat Simi Valley in the 4-A title game last year.
Bosco Tech could make a strong showing in the tournament with an experienced starting unit that features 6-6 1/2 junior center Carlos Carrillo and 5-10 senior guard Dustin Palma. The Techmen, who finished with a disappointing 8-14 record last year, also figure to start 6-4 forward Ernie Montanez, 6-2 forward Vince Davi and 5-10 point guard Tom Takeshita.
One of the surprise teams in the tournament could be Edgewood, which has several standouts from a team that reached the CIF 2-A semifinals last year. The leaders are 6-1 forward Herman McCullough, who is also one of the top long and triple jumpers in the valley, and 6-4 forward Chris Hansen.
Pasadena will get a rematch with Pius X in its tournament opener. Pius X defeated Pasadena, 50-30, in the first round of the L. A. Games, but that was without Pasadena's top player, 6-5 1/2 senior forward Raynell Tillis. He averaged 20 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior and is considered a major-college prospect.
Calienes says Mater Dei, which finished with a 30-1 record last year, is worthy of the favorite's role.
"They sometimes don't look as sharp (in the summer) as in the regular season, but talent-wise, with players like LeRon Ellis (6-10 center), they have to be the top seed," Calienes said.
Watch Out for Fairfax
Talent-rich Fairfax also should be a strong title contender with 6-8 All-American forward Sean Higgins and 6-6 front-line standouts Chris Mills and J. D. Green.
Two other top contenders, Simi Valley and Serra, also have outstanding players. Simi Valley is led by 6-9 junior center Don MacLean and 6-4 junior forward Sean DeLaittre and Serra by 6-6 junior forward James Moses and 6-4 junior center Terry Newman.
Moses, one of the leading scorers in the CIF Southern Section as a sophomore, averaged 23 points and 7 rebounds last season and MacLean averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds.
With the addition of Redmond, this tournament has a regional flavor. Redmond has three starters from its Washington state championship season and is the first out-of-state team that Calienes has wooed into the tournament.
If Calienes has his way, Redmond will not be the last.
Almost Landed Powerhouse
He almost landed a top team in Clakamas of Oregon, which dropped out of the tournament recently, and national powerhouse Dunbar of Baltimore.
"Dunbar almost came out but had previous commitments they couldn't get out of," Calienes said. "But their coach knows about it (the tournament) now and we are hoping they can come next year."
Calienes said the addition of a team such as Dunbar would give the Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular national exposure and improve its chances for receiving local cable television coverage.
But for this year, Calienes will have to settle for having one of the top summer prep basketball tournaments in Southern California.