Mark McGwire, the former Damien High School standout who is first baseman for the Oakland A's, has been receiving headlines recently, which is understandable.
After all, the 6-5 rookie, who also starred at USC and for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, has been on an offensive tear having entered this week with a major-league-leading 30 home runs. He also has 61 runs batted in and a .288 batting average.
But it may not be long before another McGwire--Mark's younger brother Dan--receives his fill of headlines, too.
That's because the younger McGwire, who will be a sophomore at the University of Iowa next season, has been listed as the No. 1 quarterback for the Hawkeyes. The former All-CIF Eastern Conference performer from Claremont High completed 6 of 12 passes for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns in sparse playing time as a freshman last season but was impressive in spring practice.
Iowa Coach Hayden Fry was so impressed that he said the 6-8 McGwire "has the strongest arm of any quarterback we've ever had at Iowa." That's saying a lot considering that one of Iowa's top passing quarterbacks of recent years was Chuck Long, who plays for the Detroit Lions.
Fry might have been swayed by McGwire's strong performance in the Iowa spring game. One of McGwire's passes was a 75-yarder that was dropped by a receiver. It left little doubt about the strength of McGwire's passing arm, though.
Another former Claremont player, soon-to-be sophomore wide receiver Travis Watkins, may be one of McGwire's favorite targets next season. Watkins, listed No. 2 at wingback for Iowa, is no stranger to McGwire's passes.
He caught 104 for 1,703 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior year at Claremont and the passer was McGwire, who completed 204 of 332 passes for 3,172 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead the Wolfpack to its second straight CIF Eastern Conference title in 1985.
If the annual Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular is an indication of the top teams in the CIF Southern Section for next season, it figures to be a good year for boys high school basketball in the San Gabriel Valley.
Bishop Amat, which finished second in the tournament, would probably lead any list of valley powers, but others have also emerged.
Bishop Amat's chief opposition for the top spot may come from Diamond Bar, which finished fifth in the Bosco Tech tournament. The Brahmas, who defeated Dominguez (66-60) in the fifth-place game, have a strong corps of players returning from last year's team that reached the CIF 4-A Division semifinals and posted a 26-3 record.
Diamond Bar gave eventual champion Santa Barbara its closest game before dropping a 48-47 decision in the quarterfinals. The leaders for the Brahmas include 6-8 forward Brian Hendrick, Times San Gabriel Valley player of the year last season, and guards Joey Madott (6-3) and Mike Schumacher (6-0).
Perhaps the surprise of the tournament was unheralded Pasadena, which has fielded strong teams in the past but struggled to a 7-15 record last season. The Bulldogs, who do not have a starter taller than 6-2, scored surprising victories over Damien (59-50), defending state Division I champion Mater Dei (52-51) and highly regarded Serra (48-45) before losing in the quarterfinals to Palisades (70-48).
With the top two prep tournaments of the summer, the L.A. Games and the Bosco Tech Summer Hoop Spectacular, having been completed the top teams from the valley for next season are starting to emerge.
After clear-cut top choice Bishop Amat, the top teams may be Diamond Bar, Muir, Blair, Glendora, Damien, Bosco Tech, Nogales, Edgewood and Pasadena. But a lot can change between now and the start of the regular season in December.