As usual, Dominquez is expected to win the championship, with Lynwood, Downey and Gahr challenging for second place.
1. DOMINGUEZ--The Dons (22-6 last season) are favored to repeat as league champions. The starting five lacks size but not talent, led by Ronnie Coleman, a 6-6 senior forward who averaged 12.5 points and 9 rebounds last year and was a member of The Times' All-South Coast team. Coleman has signed a letter of intent with USC. Senior guards Eric Washington and Mike Elliott, both of whom averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds last season, are the other two top players who return.
2. LYNWOOD--Adrian Jackson, a 6-1 guard who averaged 15.6 points last season, is back to lead the Knights. Also returning is 6-6 center Deon Robinson, whom co-head coach Bill Notley expects to score a lot more than the five points he averaged last year. New players include 6-4 Marc Hill, 6-4 Donnell White and 5-7 point guard Kevin Adams. The Knights were 18-8 last year and finished second behind Dominguez.
3. DOWNEY--Dominguez Coach Ernie Carr says the Vikings are experienced and well-coached. The coaching comes from Jack Single and the experience comes from 6-7 Clay Schwartz, who was all-league as a junior last year, averaging 13 points a game, and Mike Payan, a senior point guard. The best newcomer, says Single, is Todd Hammond, a 6-4 junior who is an aggressive rebounder and a good defensive player.
4. GAHR--The Gladiators were 12-12 last year and fifth in the league, but Coach Vern Stewart expects this season's team, which has size and talent, to challenge Dominguez and Lynwood. Seniors are 6-7 Shawn Jamison, who averaged 9 points and 6.6 rebounds last year; 5-10 Kevin Kent (5.8 and 2.3), and 6-1 Ike Withers (6.1 and 3.7). A top newcomer is 6-9 Joey Cubit.
5. WARREN--The Bears, who lost Steve Fendry (20 points a game) to graduation, lost another potential 20-point scorer, Mahesh Ananth, because of disciplinary reasons. Ananth would have been Coach Jay Young's only returning starter. What Young has is a group that was 18-4 in JV competition last year. Among the top players are 6-2 Darius Turner, 6-0 Jim Kim and 6-0 Byron Thompson, all juniors. Two sophomores--6-6 Ray Winick and 6-4 Tony Rodriquez--provide size and aggressiveness.
6. CERRITOS--With 6-9 all-CIF star Kevin Holland having moved on to DePaul University, Cerritos probably will have its smallest team. But Coach Ian Desborough says it will be one of the quickest. The Dons' leader is Eugene Humphrey, a 6-foot senior guard who averaged 10 points a game and was all-league last year. Tim Keck, a 5-11 senior who was the most valuable player on the JV team, moves up to the varsity. This team's shooting is suspect.
7. PARAMOUNT--The Pirates, says Coach Tine Hardeman, have nine or 10 players who are about equal--"nobody who is great, but no dogs either." Frank May, a 6-3 senior who averaged 12.5 points and 5 rebounds last year, is back from last year's last-place team, as is 6-2 Mike Reid, who averaged 3 steals. Jeff Jackson, a 6-p4 senior who averaged 16 points in the summer league, is a top newcomer.