When Jon Drezner picks up a basketball, he thinks about his dream game. He fantasizes that time is running out and Calabasas needs a miracle shot to win the game.
"Drezner steals the ball with three seconds left," he says, imitating a basketball announcer. "He drives the length of the court. He pulls up to shoot the three-pointer. Calabasas wins by one!"
Drezner certainly isn't the only basketball player to have this dream. But he probably won't need to buy a fantasy videotape to make his dream come true, either.
When Calabasas begins its basketball season this week, Drezner will be shooting the ball from the first minute to the last.
It is a role for which he has waited two years.
"I think the best returning player in league is Jon Drezner," Agoura Coach Kevin Pasky said. "He rebounds, he's got a nice little jump shot and he can play anywhere. I'm not sure what new players Santa Clara has, but I would say Drezner will be either the best- or second-best player in the league."
Last season, teammate Steve Ward was co-player of the year in the Frontier League. He averaged 25.3 points a game and was a first-team All-Southern Section selection.
Drezner, who averaged 13.4 points and 13.4 rebounds a game, was content last season with his supporting role as the team's No. 2 man. He played forward, center and guard and was the only junior selected first-team All-Frontier League. But Ward has graduated to Valley College and Drezner believes he's ready to graduate to star billing.
"I liked my role last year as a rebounder and sometime scorer," Drezner said. "I watched Steve and tried to learn how to dominate a game like him. But this year, I want the ball. Steve is gone and I want to prove I can shoot the ball, too."
Drezner, an honors student, is no dummy. He knows that to be the top gun in the Calabasas corral, he needs to shoot straight and often.
Drezner spends 2 1/2 hours working on his jump shot after practice and an additional eight to 10 hours on the weekend. The 6-3 senior practices dribbling around chairs and taking shots from the top of the key. He practices moving without the ball by having his father feed him passes on their backyard court.
"The best thing I can say about Jon is that he is a hard, hard worker and a good athlete," Calabasas Coach Bill Bellatty said. "He's the best athlete I've ever coached at Calabasas."
Another thing Drezner practices is watching the movements of stars.
"I like to imitate basketball players like Michael Jordan when I'm practicing," Drezner said. "I don't try and dunk the ball like the way he can, but I do practice hanging in the air and faking the ball up and down. Sometimes you have to let go and find out what you really can and can't do. If you don't take that extra step in practice, you'll never do it in a game."
Drezner also dreams about beating Santa Clara for the first time in his career. Santa Clara has won 12 Frontier League championships, including eight of the past nine, and is the preseason favorite to again win the title. The last time the Saints lost a league game was in 1984, when Drezner was a freshman.
"We've never lost to Agoura and we've never beaten Santa Clara," Drezner said. "If we can sweep both of them, we'll win the championship."
And, that's a long shot Drezner hopes to make for a dream to come true.
COACH: Bill Bellatty, sixth year
LAST SEASON: 17-9, second in league at 6-2.
THIS SEASON: Calabasas' offense will continue to have an East Coast appearance--plenty of shooting and hopefully plenty of scoring. "I don't believe in a lot of dribbling and passing," said Bellatty, a native of Maine. "I like to push it up, throw it up and make them shut up. I maintain the more you hold the ball, the more chances you have to make a turnover. I call it my six-second offense." Calabasas lost some height and most of its scoring when Steve Ward took his soft-touch jump shot to Valley College. Ward, who twice was named to the Times' All-Valley team, averaged 25.3 points a game last season. The Calabasas squad consists of nine seniors but only two returning starters. Jon Drezner (13.4 ppg), the team's second-leading scorer, will be the new designated-scorer in the Coyotes' fast-paced offense. Bellatty is unsure where he'll start Drezner, who has played all three positions. Also returning is 6-2 1/2 forward Jeff Bell (5.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), who has made his mark with aggressive play. "He's a Kurt Rambis-type basketball player," Bellatty said. "He goes all-out on every play." Kevin Menteer (3.3 ppg), who played tight end in football, gives the Coyotes another big player up front. Sean Obusek, a 6-1 guard, is the Coyotes' best three-point shooter and may start at one guard spot. Bellatty plans to rotate players at the other starting spot. "We're a very small team compared to Santa Clara," Bellatty said. "We have four guards, a forward and no center."
COACH: Kevin Pasky, first year
LAST SEASON: 7-15, third in league at 17-9
THIS SEASON: Agoura is a veteran team with five players who each started at least five games last year. Senior center Shambi Huddleston (8 ppg, 8 rpg), in his third year with the varsity, has the potential to be the team's leading scorer. Senior guard Frank Jacobellis (10 ppg, 4 rpg) will be Agoura's three-point shooting threat. Senior forward Mike Armstrong (3 ppg, 2 rpg), senior point guard Arnie Goldstein (2 ppg, 4.5 assists per game) and senior forward Dave Corridori (5 ppg, 6 rpg) are more role players than scorers. Agoura has two other potential starters in transfers Jeff Ingalls, a 6-0 junior guard from Oklahoma, and Eric Fuller, a 6-4 junior center from Oregon.