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NOTEBOOK : Crossroads' Croshere Draws a Crowd of College Coaches

March 19, 1992|SEAN WATERS

UCLA Coach Jim Harrick and six college assistants, including Fran McCaffrey of Notre Dame and Jack Fertig of USC, were in attendance when Pius X beat Crossroads, 68-54, in the first round of the Southern California Division IV Regional March 10 at Santa Monica High.

Although it was a disappointing loss for the Roadrunners, the coaches were impressed with the play of Crossroads' 6-foot-9 center, Austin Croshere.

Croshere, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Pius X guard Michael O'Quinn, who had 15 points, are part of what many coaches and scouts believe is one of the top junior classes to play in the Southland. The Southland's most-wanted list by Division I schools also includes Charles O'Bannon and Avondre Jones of Artesia, Richard Mandeville of La Canada, Jacque Vaughn of Muir, Stais Boseman of Morningside and Scot Pollard of Torrey Pines.

Croshere, who averaged 22.1 points, 15.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocked shots during the season, has received more than 100 recruiting letters since his sophomore year. UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Utah and Utah State are the West Coast schools that have shown the most interest. Connecticut, which signed guard Kevin Ollie from Crenshaw last season, continues to make inroads into the area and has sent about 40 letters to Croshere.

Croshere said he hasn't decided which five campuses he will visit next fall nor whether he will sign an early letter of intent in November. Croshere, who has a 3.16 grade-point average, will take the Scholastic Aptitude Test in April and wait until June before narrowing his list of schools.

"I'm keeping an open mind," Croshere said. "Right now, I'm sorting letters, seeing faces at games and waiting for invitations for visits. I want to find a program that fits the way I play basketball."

Croshere, who has attended several UCLA games, enjoys being watched as well as watching basketball games.

"I'm impressed to see coaches at my games, and that will definitely factor into my decision," he said.

Croshere said he will participate in the ABCD basketball camp, which will be held July 3-9 at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and the Five-Star Camp in Pittsburgh, July 13-19. He will also play on a Crossroads team in summer leagues at Santa Monica College and Culver City High.

A Haro-ing experience--St. Monica High pitcher David Haro was content after throwing a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 nonleague victory over Murphy Saturday. But Haro's work wasn't done.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Haro was a reliever in the seventh inning, quickly retiring the side to earn his second win in a 4-3 decision.

Haro, a junior right-hander, is one of three upperclassmen returning from last year's team, which finished 10-12 overall and 3-9 in the Camino Real League. Senior catcher Jesus Padilla, who batted .567, and junior center fielder Antoine Doxey, are the others.

"Our whole squad is based on youth, pitching and defense," third-year coach Bruce Meyers said. "We've been building for the future and the future is close to now."

The top underclassmen are sophomore pitcher/shortstop Oscar Casillas, sophomore pitcher James Brennan and freshman first baseman Carlos Casillas, whom Meyers compares to former St. Bernard High standout Dan Melendez.

The Mariners opened Camino Real League play Wednesday against Bosco Tech and will visit St. Anthony Saturday at 11 a.m.

Back in action--Nothing seems to keep John Beradino of Beverly Hills from playing aggressively in the outfield. Not even the fear of running into a chain-link fence, again.

In his debut as a center fielder, Beradino crashed into the fence while making a diving catch in the Normans' season-opener against Rio Mesa on March 7. Beradino, who played first base last season, needed eight stitches to close cuts on and above his left ear.

"He turned the wrong way on a fly ball and stumbled on an embankment near the fence," Beverly Hills Coach Bill Erickson said. "He barely hit the side of his head on the bottom of the fence."

The Normans (3-3) are struggling with a .261 team batting average. Beradino, who missed one game, is batting .111, Mike Rappaport is at .111 and Greg Roach is at .167.

Beverly Hills opens the Ocean League season against Redondo Friday at 7 p.m.

Finding some relief--Despite a slow start, University (3-2) has found a closer for its bullpen, a rarity in high school baseball.

Randall Harris, who was the team's No. 2 starter the last two seasons, has pitched seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in his new role as the Warrior closer.

Catcher Joey Gandara has thrown out seven of 10 runners attempting to steal.

Now if the Warriors can find someone to hit. The team has a .220 batting average.

Staff writer Jeff Fellenzer contributed to this story.

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