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South Coast League

November 28, 2000

Capistrano Valley

Coach: Brian Mulligan

1999-2000 record: 18-10

League record: 7-3

With four returning starters, the Cougars appear poised to challenge El Toro for the league championship. Still, Capistrano Valley Coach Brian Mulligan cautions that his team is "still young and not very athletic." The Cougars appear set at guard, where they feature 6-4 junior Matt Sweany, 6-3 senior Jeff Gloger and 6-3 juniors Pete Decasas and Jake Franzen. The only proven post player is 6-6 forward Bryan Mallon.

Dana Hills

Coach: Mark Thornton

1999-2000 record: 6-20

League record: 0-10

Everything will go swimmingly for the Dolphins if they can win a game or two in league. But it's a tall order. Travis Nelson, a 6-3 senior forward, is the only returning starter. Mike Rush, a 6-1 junior guard, and Shane Del Rosario, a 6-3 senior center, return and will likely shift from roles as reserves to starters. Allen Fulton, Sal Gonzalez and Mike Mooney are the newcomers.

El Toro

Coach: Todd Dixon

1999-2000 record: 24-5

League record: 10-0

It has taken Charger Coach Todd Dixon only four years to build one of the county's finest programs, and this year's edition may be his best. El Toro returns four starters, including 6-0 senior guard Ashkan Nazeri, a Times' Orange County first-team selection last year who averaged 16.2 points per game. Chris Parish, a 6-3 senior guard who was a Times' Orange County second-team selection, also returns, making the Chargers the only county team besides Mater Dei with returners from the county first and second teams. The other returning starters are 5-11 senior guard Ken Tanaka, a first-team all-league selection, and 6-8 senior center Matt Green.

Mission Viejo

Coach: Jeff Cunningham

1999-2000 record: 12-15

League record: 3-7

The Diablos will be one of the taller teams in the league and could parlay their size advantage into victories if Coach Jeff Cunningham makes it a priority to pound the ball inside. Travis Niesen, a 6-7 junior forward, and Erik Engstrom, a 6-7 junior center, should make Mission Viejo a force to be reckoned with in the post. Matt Cole, a 6-4 senior swingman, and Mykel Valentine, a 5-8 senior guard, are the other returning starters besides Niesen.

San Clemente

Coach: Brad Davis

1999-2000 record: 15-11

League record: 5-5

Coach Brad Davis' team should be fun to watch, and not only because it has seven returning lettermen and could compete for the league title. Davis is one to watch as well, always working the officials and himself into a lather. Senior guard Curtis Bush, a first-team all-league selection last season, leads a cast of returners that should be steady if not spectacular. He will be joined by senior guards James Hartman and Jordan Fleener and senior big man Tim Burnette.

Trabuco Hills

Coach: Rainer Wulf

1999-2000 record: 12-15

League record: 5-5

The Mustangs, who last season won four more league games than they did the year before, appear headed in the right direction. Coach Rainer Wulf expects defense to be a hallmark of this season's team, which should feature solid depth but few stars. The biggest name on the roster is Mater Dei transfer James Webster, who averaged two points a game last season on a team laden with standouts. The only returning starters for the Mustangs are 6-6 senior forward Ian Wright and 6-2 junior guard Aaron Tudor, who so far have been solid.

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