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1994 PREP BASKETBALL ALL-STARS : BOYS' ALL-STARS : St. John Bosco Selections Lead Senior-Dominated Squad

April 21, 1994|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It was nothing short of a dream season for St. John Bosco boys' basketball team.

Although the Braves won the Del Rey League title and advanced to the Southern Section Division II-A semifinals in the 1992-93 season, Bosco topped itself.

The Braves not only repeated as league champion, they went on to win the Division II-A championship by defeating top-seeded Dominguez, 55-54, in the title game at the Anaheim Arena.

It was the first basketball championship for the school, which opened in 1940.

Bosco is well represented on The Times' 1994 Southeast All-Star Team.

The Braves placed 6-foot-6 point guard Jelani Gardner, regarded as one of the nation's best senior players, and 6-0 guard Kevin Christian, on the team.

Gardner, who signed with California on Friday after ruling out national champion Arkansas and UCLA, is one of two repeat selections to The Times' team. Warren's Erik Kennady, a 6-7 forward, is the other. He played at El Rancho two seasons ago.

The only junior on the team is 6-7 forward Troy Collins of Pius X, considered among the top juniors in the state.

Selections were based on ballots cast by area coaches and a poll of Times sportswriters.

The players, along with their parents and coaches, will be guests of The Times at an awards breakfast at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Sheraton Long Beach, 333 E. Ocean Blvd. The area player and coach of the year will be announced at the breakfast.

A look at the all-stars:

Joe Austin (Lynwood)--The shortest player on the team at 5-foot-9, Austin's future may be in football. He has signed a national letter of intent to attend Kansas and is expected to play defensive back. It would be difficult to convince his opponents that his basketball days are numbered. He was one of the top guards in the talent-rich San Gabriel Valley League, averaging 18.1 points, six assists and six steals. An all-league first team selection in basketball, he was also a Times' South Coast selection in football.

Kevin Chaney (Artesia)--With the departure of Charles O'Bannon and Avondre Jones, a lot of people expected the talent pool to run dry at Artesia. But Chaney's presence on the all-star team is evidence to the contrary. A three-year starter, the 6-1 Chaney stepped forward last season and averaged 18.3 points, 5.2 assists and was named Suburban League most valuable player. He has been recruited by NCAA Division I schools Long Beach State and Sacramento State.

Kevin Christian (St. John Bosco)--Christian played an integral role in the Braves' championship season. He was named to the Southern Section Division II second team by the Amateur Athletic Foundation board of sportswriters. The 6-0 guard averaged 11.6 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

Troy Collins (Pius X)--When top juniors in the state are discussed, Collins is usually one of the first mentioned. He is already being recruited by national powers such as Purdue, Syracuse and California. The 6-7 forward averaged 18.3 points and ranked among state leaders in rebounding with an average of 16.5 and blocked shots with 4.1. He made the Del Rey League first team and Southern Section Division IV second team.

Jelani Gardner (St. John Bosco)--Gardner has been heavily touted since his freshman season at Bishop Amat. As a senior, his play exceeded expectations. An excellent outside shooter and floor leader, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists to lead the Braves to the Division II-A title. Gardner has earned a slew of postseason honors, including state player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports News, and berths on the Parade magazine and USA Today All-America teams.

Joey Gorini (La Mirada)--The 6-1 Gorini, an excellent three-point shooting guard, averaged 18.7 points and 3.2 assists. Perhaps even more impressive was his average of 6.1 rebounds. That hasn't attracted many college recruiters, although he has earned All-Suburban League honors two seasons in a row and made three all-tournament teams as a senior.

Erik Kennady (Warren)--It doesn't seem to matter what school Kennady attends. With back-to-back selections to the Southeast team, he has proven to be one of the area's top players. After a standout junior season at El Rancho, he excelled for Warren last season with an average of 18 points and 12 rebounds. Kennady, who led Warren to the Division I-A quarterfinals, earned All-San Gabriel Valley League and All-Division I honors.

Jason Reynolds (St. Paul)--Like Austin, the future for Reynolds appears to be in football. A preseason Times' Terrific 22 selection at linebacker for Tustin, Reynolds will play football at Arizona State in the fall. After transferring to St. Paul, Reynolds averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Swordsmen to the Division IV-AA finals. He was named to the Division IV first team.

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