For most of his two superlative varsity seasons at Simi Valley High, people have wondered what motivates 6-10 junior center Don MacLean.
Coach Bob Hawking admits it's not his inspirational speeches.
It's not for the awards or accolades. MacLean already has won most of the trophies in town. It's not for the attention of college scouts. Just about every recruiter with a stat sheet has heard of him.
But after Friday night's game against Westlake, MacLean came clean. So what does motivate the All-Southern Section, All-Marmonte, California sophomore player of the year?
MacLean scored a game-high 26 points and had 19 rebounds as Simi Valley had a surprisingly easy time defeating Westlake, 71-55, in a Marmonte League game at Westlake.
Incredible as it sounds, it was the poison pen of the press that unleashed the wrath of MacLean on Westlake. MacLean scored 12 points and had 8 rebounds in the first quarter alone, his way of punctuating his own account about who's the best under the boards.
A miffed MacLean made Westlake's 6-8 Dave Heckmann the recipient of much of his on-court carnage, limiting Heckmann to just seven points.
"I got fired up when I read about how Westlake was the only team in the league that was going to beat us," MacLean said. "The newspapers said Heckmann is the only guy who could play with me.
"You saw it. I don't think he or Westlake matches up."
A sellout crowd and a television audience saw a mean MacLean and Simi Valley destroy Westlake, winning the rebound battle, 32-17.
And without a rebound and a second chance, Westlake had no chance.
"We didn't work the ball around and take the shots that we could rebound," Westlake Coach Roy Gilmore said. "And it's awful hard to play catch-up against Simi Valley."
Simi Valley (15-1, 3-0) took an 18-14 lead in the first quarter behind MacLean's first-quarter outburst. MacLean scored 12 of the team's 18 points in the period and had three points and six rebounds in the second quarter, when Simi Valley took a 30-27 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Westlake scored just eight points as Shawn DeLaittre and Butch Hawking padded the Simi Valley lead by scoring four points each as the Pioneers took a 45-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
When Westlake forward Paul Keenan was forced to leave the game after suffering a cut over his left eye just before the end of the third quarter, it was an appropriate way to begin the final quarter that saw Simi Valley score 26 points while a battered Westlake just tried to stay close.
Westlake scored the first basket in the fourth quarter, but then went scoreless for the next 2:21. The victory over Westlake (10-4, 1-1) was the fourth straight for Simi Valley, ranked second by The Times among Valley teams.
Westlake guard Rick Welch finished with a team-high 14 points for Westlake.
DeLaittre finished with 18 for Simi Valley.