Steve deLaveaga looks for 2 things when he breaks to the basket--the ball and Jeff Logsdon.
When searching for Logsdon, deLaveaga rarely has far to look. Logsdon, Cal Lutheran's senior point guard, had 95 assists last season to lead the Golden State Athletic Conference.
It's no coincidence that most of Logsdon's assists go to deLaveaga, a 6-4 senior guard who led the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District 3 in scoring last season.
"I give him the ball so much because of my faith in his ability," Logsdon said. "He never surprises me. Steve works so hard without the ball to get into position that not giving it to him would be denying him."
DeLaveaga, the GSAC and district player of the year last season, is equally confident in Logsdon.
"Nobody I've ever played with wants to win more or knows better what to do to make this team win," deLaveaga said.
DeLaveaga and Logsdon (6-0, 170) first played together as freshmen at Cal Lutheran. By their junior years, both were starting and playing an integral part in the team's fortunes.
After a 2-7 start last year, the Kingsmen won 13 of their next 19 games and advanced to the District 3 semifinals before losing to Biola, 84-63. DeLaveaga credits Logsdon with turning the team around.
"He's the biggest reason for last season," deLaveaga said. "I have so much confidence in the guy. I don't think there's ever a time when he can't get me the ball."
It's not surprising that deLaveaga, who needs just 77 points to tie Gary Bowman as CLU's all-time scoring leader, is Logsdon's most tempting target. But Cal Lutheran has other effective scorers in forward Blake Miraglia and center Mike Demeter.
"My job is not only to control who gets the ball, but to see that he gets it in a place that he can score most effectively," Logsdon said.
Logsdon, who averaged 9.3 points a game last year, can also score. He made 54 of 58 free throws to lead the GSAC and set a school record for free-throw percentage (93.1%).
"Besides being a great passer, he's also an offensive threat," Miraglia said. "If they leave him alone too long, he'll score."
Logsdon's main job, however, is to direct the offense. If he can do that effectively, the Kingsmen should be competitive in their final year in the GSAC.
Coach Larry Lopez has 4 returning starters--Logsdon, deLaveaga, Miraglia and Demeter. He also has several promising freshmen in Charles Jackson (6-3) of Verbum Dei High, Damon Charlot (6-3) of Cleveland High and Brad Adam (5-10) of Crescenta Valley High.
Lopez is hoping that the combination of experience and youth will mix well for Cal Lutheran.
"We have a lot more experience and depth than last year and I feel that should make us a better team," Lopez said.
Cal Lutheran also has a tougher schedule than last year. The Kingsmen play 9 Division II opponents and will face their first Division I team--UC San Diego.
Lopez expects the tough preseason schedule to prepare Cal Lutheran well for conference play.
"It not only helps the team prepare, but I think it adds status to our recruiting," Lopez said.
Cal Lutheran's recruiting efforts were hurt last month when the university voted to become a member of the NCAA Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in all sports. In accordance with Division III rules, the Kingsmen are not allowed to offer any additional athletic scholarships.
Because of its move to Division III, Cal Lutheran will leave the GSAC on June 1, 1989. Lopez, who opposed the move, hopes his team will have more incentive to win the conference title knowing this will be its last chance.
"We have a group of motivated guys who are very focused," Lopez said.