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High Schools | Eric Sondheimer

Weinstein Has Deep Thoughts

January 10, 2003|Eric Sondheimer

Shawn Weinstein of Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula High might qualify to work for the postal service based on his refusal to let neither rain nor wind nor cold temperatures prevent him from perfecting his shooting touch.

Weinstein prefers a gymnasium, but that hasn't deterred him from shooting baskets in his front yard no matter the weather conditions.

"I like shooting in the rain," he said. "It's kind of cold but fun and different."

Weinstein works constantly on improving his basketball skills. He begins this weekend averaging 28.9 points. He was an all-tournament team selection at the 32-team Las Vegas Prep Classic last month when he averaged 29.3 points.

He's a 6-foot senior guard comfortable scoring off screens or pulling up for three-point shots.

"I love it so much, and I do whatever it takes for the team to win," he said.

A three-year varsity player for Peninsula (9-8), he was the leading scorer for the U.S. junior Maccabi team that won the gold medal in Israel in the summer of 2000.

Whether Weinstein develops into a Division I college player remains to be seen. His quickness and strength need to improve to make him more effective on defense.

But few 17-year-olds are working harder to fulfill their basketball dreams, whether that means lifting weights on Sundays or shooting jump shots in a storm.

*

When word leaked out that 6-8 Nick Stiggers had returned home to Tennessee during Thanksgiving weekend and wouldn't be playing for Van Nuys Montclair Prep, most assumed the Mounties were doomed.

On the contrary, Montclair Prep (7-2) is playing like a top-25 team. The Mounties have victories over Glendora, Dorsey, Carson, Malibu Kilpatrick and Temecula Valley Chaparral.

Credit Coach Tyrone Fuller and his players for not losing focus when Stiggers left.

"It was disappointing," forward Robert Lewis said. "It was like, 'All right, he's gone, we have to move on. He's not the whole team.' "

The 6-5 Lewis has combined with 6-7 Jeff Fahnbulleh and 6-5 Anthony Davis to make the Mounties a formidable challenger to Los Angeles Verbum Dei in Division IV-A.

*

Here's another tale from the recruiting game:

Montclair Prep's Lewis was among the first football recruits to commit to USC in May. He's a 215-pound linebacker who just turned 17.

But Lewis said he's no longer considering the Trojans after they asked him to postpone enrolling until next January.

"I was fully committed, but they weren't committed," he said.

Mounties' Coach George Giannini said, "They made an offer for a full scholarship, unconditional, then changed it."

USC's success this season has resulted in too many top high school players wanting to play for the Trojans and not enough scholarships.

Lewis isn't without options. He's looking at Stanford, Washington and California.

And he wants to pick a school in the Pacific 10 Conference so he can play against USC.

*

Southern Section Commissioner Jim Staunton has decided not to punish the 14 schools that defied an edict requiring them to use Spalding footballs during the playoffs.

"Upon further review, we want to make sure we're being fair," section spokesman Thom Simmons said.

The section had warned schools that failure to use the football might result in sanctions ranging from a financial penalty to loss of future playoff home dates.

Simmons said none of the schools violated the rule in their next games.

Coach Alan Eberhart of Crescenta Valley expressed dismay with the section's failure to take action.

His team followed the rule in using the Spalding football while its playoff opponent, Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, didn't.

"As someone who follows rules, the next time they try to mandate something, I'm going to ignore it," Eberhart said. "It's unbelievably gutless on their part.... Again, the cheaters win."

The Southern Section is reserving the right to impose sanctions next season for those unwilling to comply. Some schools complained that Spalding's ball was too slick.

Spalding has agreed to form a committee of Southern Section football coaches to listen to concerns related to its balls and create one more suitable to Southern California weather conditions.

Eric Sondheimer can be reached at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com.

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