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Los Angeles High School Scores a New Head Coach : Prep sports: Kareem Gurgis, former Westchester High assistant basketball coach, debuts this fall. He replaces Craig Murray, who returns to college.

August 14, 1994|CHARLES SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Former Westchester High assistant basketball coach Kareem Gurgis will make his head coaching debut this fall at Los Angeles High.

"I was offered a teaching position at Los Angeles and then I found out about the (coaching) vacancy and was offered the job," said Gurgis, who served as a two-year assistant under Coach Ed Azzam.

Gurgis will replace Craig Murray, who resigned at the end of last season because his love of coaching proved secondary to his love of teaching: "I want to go back to school at Cal State Los Angeles to get my master's degree in education," Murray said.

Gurgis said that working with Azzam has prepared him to be a head coach.

"(Azzam) is one of the best coaches in the City," Gurgis said. "They have a tremendous program at Westchester."

It will take some time and work before Gurgis can say the same about Los Angeles.

"There is a lot of talent here that needs cultivating," Gurgis said. "It's a good nucleus of kids who are willing to put out the effort."

Gurgis expects a smooth transition from assistant to coach, saying: "I was in charge of many of the practices at Westchester, so I know how to run a team.

"I used to help Ed out during games but he always had the final say. Now, I make all the changes and game preparations," he said.

During Murray's two-year coaching tenure, Los Angeles had a 21-27 record and made the playoffs last season, losing to Crenshaw, the eventual State Division I-A and City Section 4-A Division champion, in the first round of the City playoffs.

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Arizona State heads a list of college basketball programs recruiting Jordan's Clem Breedlove.

Breedlove, who averaged 20 points for the Bulldogs last season, impressed college recruiters during a spring development league.

A representative from Arizona State contacted Breedlove last week.

"That surprised me because he didn't play in any of the big summer high school tournaments," Jordan Coach Ed Kamiyama said.

"I don't know if Clem will get much taller, so he needs to work on his upper body and build up his legs."

If Breedlove does well on his SAT, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Dominguez and Azusa Pacific are among his top choices.

Breedlove was a member of the 1994 City Times All-Stars second team.

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Crenshaw's three-point shooting specialist Ronnie Arch is expected to take fall recruiting visits to USC, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida State and Cal in September.

The 6-5, 174-pound shooting guard will be one of the Cougars' primary weapons after the graduation of five senior starters.

If Arch's play this summer has been any indication, he may be the Central City's next superstar.

"Ronnie played very well and is only going to get better," said Dana Pump, co-sponsor of the July 9-12 West Coast All-Star Camp at Cal State Dominguez.

Arch, who is primarily a spot-up shooter, needs to work on shooting off the dribble and creating shots.

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Washington guard Patrick Blake lists Arizona State, Illinois State, Colorado and Loyola Marymount as schools he will visit during his fall recruiting trips.

Blake, who is 6-3, 180 pounds, has good size and an outstanding stroke for a shooting guard.

One of the top three-point shooters in the area, Blake was the perfect outside complement to Dayron Harris' inside-power game last season.

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Some of the area's better players, such as Fremont's Antonio Hines and Thomas Hildreth, will use the upcoming season to impress Division I scouts.

Hines, a 6-3 guard-forward, has no plans yet, but will probably sign in late April.

"Antonio has great grades," Fremont Coach Sam Sullivan said. "He is a good shooter and leaper, but needs to bulk up. Antonio will be one of Fremont's go-to guys."

The 6-2 Hildreth is a slashing-type player going to the basket but has an inconsistent jump shot.

"Thomas is a scrappy player that defends well and gets 12 to 14 points every game," Sullivan said.

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