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1996-97 BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Golden West League

December 03, 1996

Ocean View. 13-16, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Jim Harris (19th year, 319-158). Prospects: Seven lettermen, including five juniors, make up the Seahawks. But a potential impact player, 6-3 sophomore guard Nathan Hair, transferred to Aliso Niguel. Starters back are 6-2 forward David Hatch and 6-5 guard Jason Martini, both juniors. Also back are seniors O'Neil Hopson, a 6-1 guard, and Ryan Lynch, a 6-3 forward, juniors Matt Kiemle, a 6-4 forward, Dan Nguyen, a 5-9 guard, and Kevin Hanson, a 6-9 center. Newcomers are sophomore Tony Dow and senior Jesus Guerrero. "Our top eight are very sound players," Harris said.

Saddleback. 4-22, 0-10 in 1995-96. Coach: Tim Mesenhimer (second year, 4-22). Prospects: Mesenhimer returns three starters and has an optimistic approach. "Experience should be our strength," he said. Senior forward Jose Toscano, as well as senior guard Derrick Barnes, return. Both averaged 10 points last year. Another starter, 6-6 center Tim Bell, who averaged eight rebounds, also returns. Also back are guards Alex Clemente, Ricky Hernandez and Terrell Foster, who is 6-4. Top newcomers include 6-4 center Fernando Cervantes and junior guards Alvin Magcasi and Alex Toland.

Santa Ana. 12-13, 4-6 in 1995-96. Coach: Adrian Gomez (first year). Prospects: A year ago the Saints got off to a great start under former Coach Ken Walker, but after a 20-point loss to Tustin in the second game of league, they faltered down the stretch. Gomez, a former assistant at Long Beach State and College of the Sequoias, inherits one starter, Karim Guerra, a 6-1 senior who averaged 6.8 points. Newcomers expected to play are freshman Chris Galvan, sophomore Robert Ramirez and junior Jose Hernandez, according to Gomez. "We are a young team," he said. "We have a lack of experience."

Servite. 14-14, 5-5 in 1995-96. Coach: Scott Hamilton (fifth year, 55-43). Prospects: The Friars return two starters from last season's up-and-down team that scrambled to make it into the playoffs. Although there isn't a lot of size to go around, the team has speed, quickness and strong outside shooting ability. Steve Hogan, a 6-4 guard, is expected to shoulder the scoring load, along with backcourt mate Chris Killens, a 6-footer. Ryan Bulatao and Dennis Wisco are there to back them up. And 6-5 forward Steve Shea and 6-4 forward Raphael Zielanka should play a lot. Zielanka led the junior varsity in scoring.

Tustin. 25-4, 10-0 in 1995-96. Coach: Andy Ground (fifth year, 95-23). Prospects: Ground sat out the summer after allegedly having talked with three junior high school players at a basketball camp where Ground worked. Still, the Tillers are expected to have one of the league's best teams. Starters Ryan Earl, a point guard, and Rahiem (formerly Ray) Hobbs, the off-guard, have great quickness. There's height with 6-5 Peter Johnston and 6-8 Jeff Moll, plus 6-3 Lester Deraad and 6-2 Will Smith. 6-5 Eric Brismee of Belgium and 6-1 Carlos Lua from Mexico add depth. Others are Greg Carnal, DeShaun Foster, Andre Thompson, Chuck Williams and Pat Yapjoco.

Westminster. 12-15, 6-4 in 1995-96. Coach: Gary Dickson (fourth year, 25-43). Prospects: Starters Geoff Henderson, a 6-9 senior center, and 6-2 senior swingman Brandon Fox return, along with several talented subs. Dickson boldly predicts a league title. "We have the best team [that we have had] in the league since 1970," Dickson said. Team assist leader Ly Nguyen, a 5-11 guard, is back, as are the team's second-leading scorer, Eric Mizutuka, and swingman Son Thai. Junior Finai, a 6-4 transfer from Hawaii, joins Ian Clawson, a 6-0 guard, and Josh Horton, a 6-6 forward, as a reserve.

--Capsules by PAUL McLEOD

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