Centers LeRon Ellis of Mater Dei High School and Adam Keefe of Woodbridge, who have led their teams to the finals of the state basketball tournament, head the list of selections for the 13th edition of The Times' All-County basketball team.
The selections include five seniors who have signed with Division I colleges--Ricky Butler of Ocean View (Kansas), Mark Georgeson of Marina (Arizona), Mike Herring of Irvine (Brigham Young), Richard Lucas of Katella (Oregon) and Ellis (Kentucky).
Two other senior choices--Rog Middleton of Tustin and Markus Muller-Stach of Corona del Mar--are undecided about their future. Middleton is being recruited by Oregon, UC Irvine, Utah State and San Diego State. Muller-Stach has not received an offer by a major college, according to his coach, Paul Orris.
Rounding out the all-star group are two juniors, El Toro point guard Bret Johnson and Santa Ana center Bobby Joyce.
The players, along with their parents and coaches, will be the guests of The Times at an awards brunch at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.
The county's player of the year and coach of the year will be announced at the awards presentation.
The selections were based on ballots from the county's high school coaches. The players were chosen on the basis of their ability, regardless of their class or position.
Ellis averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds in regional playoff victories against Fresno Edison and Fairfax to lead the Monarchs to their first Division I title game appearance against Concord Ygnacio Valley on Saturday in Oakland.
"I've run out of great things to say about LeRon," said Gary McKnight, Mater Dei coach. "He's certainly the reason we have made it to the finals. Whenever we needed a big play, LeRon came through."
Ellis, a 6-foot 11-inch senior, an All-County choice last season and son of former Laker center LeRoy Ellis, is considered to be one of the top players in the state.
Keefe, a 6-8 junior, has been a model of consistency throughout the postseason tournament. The Warriors have won 17 straight games going into Saturday's Division II final against Richmond De Anza, and Keefe has played a key role during the streak.
He averaged 22.2 points and 12.8 rebounds and shot 57% during the regular season, then improved upon those figures in every playoff game except the Southern California regional final against Saugus.
Other players who received a sizable share of votes included Vince Bryan (Woodbridge), Dennis Burbank (Valencia), Lasse Glassen (University), Steve Guild (Marina), Mike Henderson (Edison), Jeff Herdman (Mission Viejo), Gary Hunter (Buena Park), Mark Lyon (Magnolia), Scott McCullough (Capistrano Valley), Kyle Mooney (Estancia), Randy Morales (Rancho Alamitos), Eric Olin (University), Craig Paquette (Rancho Alamitos), Kevin Rembert (Mater Dei), Joe Small (Bolsa Grande), Jeff Stewart (Santa Ana), Chris Tower (Westminster) and Mo Warner (Los Alamitos).
Mater Dei - Senior
6-11 - Center
Ellis arrived at Mater Dei two years ago from Parkrose High in Oregon with the reputation as an excellent defensive player, but his offensive skills were questionable. Today, he is considered by most to be the best player in the state. The son of former Laker center LeRoy Ellis will attend
the University of Kentucky in the fall. He averaged 22.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and shot 54% from the field to lead the Monarchs to their first appearance in the State championship game. "LeRon is one of the greatest athletes at his size that you'll ever see," said Gary McKnight, Mater Dei coach. Ellis was also a member of the Monarchs' water polo team.
Tustin - Senior
6-5 - Forward
Middleton shot an exceptional 70% from the field, averaging 22.3 points per game. He established a school single-game scoring record with 45 points against Los Alamitos in the Laguna Beach tournament. Middleton has narrowed his college choices to Oregon, UC Irvine, Utah State and
San Diego State. "Rog sure made life easy for me the last two years," said Tim O'Brien, Tustin coach. "He's an exceptional athlete . . . big, strong and very aggressive. He was the first one to practice and the last one to leave every day." O'Brien described Middleton as a basketball junkie, saying the senior watches every game ESPN televises.
Woodbridge - Junior
6-8 - Center
Keefe has averaged 22.9 points and 16.4 rebounds in seven playoff games, leading Woodbridge to the State's Division II championship game on Saturday against Richmond De Anza in Oakland. "He was the most dominant player we faced all season without question," said Banning
Coach Stan Smith following his team's 68-60 overtime loss to Woodbridge in the Southern Section's 2-A championship game. "He's an exceptionally coordinated and agile young man," said Bill Shannon, Woodbridge coach. "He's also a great student of the game. He adapts to anything we do in practice and adjusts to any game situation."
Santa Ana - Junior
6-7 - Center