It was a good year for underclassmen in San Gabriel Valley boys basketball.
Two juniors and a sophomore have been named to the 1987 Los Angeles Times All-San Gabriel Valley high school all-star team.
The sophomore, 6-6 center Tracy Murray of Glendora, is one of the youngest players ever selected to the team. The juniors are 6-7 forward Brian Hendrick of Diamond Bar and 6-6 center Kelvin Woods of Damien.
With seven players 6-5 or taller, it is one of the biggest all-valley teams in recent years. Other front-line players are seniors Kirk Wagner (6-7) of Muir, Terry Owens (6-6) of Pomona, Andy Bojarski (6-5) of San Gabriel and Antonio Johnson (6-5) of Ganesha.
The rest of the team consists of seniors Mike McDonald (6-3), Faris Manning (5-10) and Keeley Brooks (5-9).
There are no repeaters.
Bojarski was the key player in the resurgence of San Gabriel, which had won only nine of 79 games in the last four years before improving to 17-7 this season.
A strong inside player, Bojarski averaged 24.5 points and 11 rebounds and was named Foothill League most valuable player. One opposing coach described him as "a great player. He's been a pain in our neck for three years." A good student, Bojarski has been recruited by many NCAA Division II and III schools including Cal Poly Pomona, Whittier and Redlands.
Brooks may be the shortest player on the all-valley squad but don't let that deceive you. An exceptional outside shooter, Brooks was the leading scorer in the CIF Southern Section with an average of 31.4 points.
An All-Valle Vista League selection for two straight years, Brooks averaged 21.7 points as a junior. The 155-pounder, more than just a scorer, also averaged 7.5 rebounds and 6 assists to rank among team leaders.
After suffering through an injury-plagued sophomore season, Hendrick developed into one of the top front-line players in the valley as a junior. Hendrick, who received the most votes in a poll of valley coaches, was named Sierra League most valuable player after leading the Brahmas to a 26-3 record and a berth in the CIF 4-A semifinals.
Considered one of the best inside players in the valley, the 200-pounder averaged 19.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Hendrick, whose father George is an outfielder for the California Angels, is also an outstanding baseball player. But his future may be in basketball where he has gained the attention of many of the top colleges on the West Coast.
While Hendrick may be the best inside player in the valley, Johnson could be most imposing. A muscular 280 pounds, he is also an excellent defensive lineman in football.
Johnson, selected most valuable player of the Hacienda League, averaged 18.7 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists as the Giants won the league title and finished at 21-5 overall.
Nogales Coach Mike Southworth called Manning the best guard in the valley and it is easy to understand why. A two-time All-Sierra League selection, Manning was an outstanding shooter.
Manning, who led the Nobles to the second round of the 4-A playoffs and 18-9 overall record, made 52.3% of his field goal attempts and averaged 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He has been recruited by several Division I colleges, including Oregon.
Rosemead has not been noted for its basketball players in recent years but McDonald is an exception. An All-Southern Section choice as a junior, McDonald established himself as one of the best all-around players in the valley.
McDonald, who led the Panthers to second place in the Mission Valley League, averaged 23.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a senior and 20.4 points in three years. He scored 10 points or more in 66 of his 67 games and is being recruited by UC Irvine.
It is highly unusual for a sophomore to make the all-valley team, but Murray is not your run-of-the-mill 10th-grader. How many sophomores average 23.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and are named most valuable player of the rugged Baseline League?
Murray was also Mr. Consistency for the Tartans, making 57% of field-goal attempts and 88% of free throws. He scored 17 points or more in all but one game. He has already received letters from Pac-10 powers UCLA and Arizona.
Another top player from the Baseline League is Owens, who averaged 19.5 points and 13.5 rebounds to carry the Red Devils most of the season. He also averaged 5 assists and 5 blocked shots.
The 198-pounder has been recruited by St. Mary's and Northern Arizona.
Muir has a knack for producing outstanding frontline players, including Tony Akins two years ago and Stacey Augmon last year, and Wagner is the latest. An All-Southern Section selection as a junior, Wagner led the Mustangs to the Pacific League title and a 20-4 record.
A talented performer underneath the basket despite his slender 185-pound frame, Wagner averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds and was selected his league's most valuable player.