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Times' Top 25 Basketball

December 09, 2008

The Times' high school boys' basketball rankings and comments by Ben Bolch:

Rk.; Team ('07-08 Rec.); Comment (last week's rank)

1 MATER DEI

(35-1, SS-Div. I-AA) Some things never change: Monarchs open season in top spot with a high-profile transfer.

2 WESTCHESTER

(28-5, City-Div. I) Coach Ed Azzam, still sporting a key chain on his belt after all these years, is hereby nominated for "What Not to Wear."

3 FAIRFAX

(27-6, City-Div. I) Hulking center Renardo Sidney is biggest thing to hit Melrose since Heather Locklear.

4 KING

(32-3, SS-Div. I-AA) In battle royale, Kawhi Leonard and King could challenge Monarchs for Southland hoops supremacy in Division I-AA.

5 ETIWANDA

(31-3, SS-Div. I-AA) With Jordan Finn and Rome Draper leading the way, Eagles should reprise role in "Thirtysomething Victories."

6 TAFT

(27-4, City-Div. I) Toreadors suffered two losses before opener with graduation of Larry Drew Jr. and ineligibility of De'Andre Daniels.

7 PASADENA

(22-6, SS-Div. I-AA) Bulldogs should give Caltech players pointers in exchange for tutoring on finer points of jet propulsion.

8 DOMINGUEZ

(31-3, SS-Div. I-AA) Some things never change, part II: Dons are loaded and Coach Russell Otis is embroiled in controversy.

9 WEST VALLEY

(25-4, SS-Div. I-A) Located on fringe of Southland, Mustangs are front and center on hoops hierarchy thanks to stars Eric Lawton and Joe Burton.

10 CAMPBELL HALL

(31-5, SS-Div. III-AA) Coach Terry Kelly's roster includes a (Keegan) Hornbuckle O'Plenty with nine and eight other returning letter winners.

11 WINDWARD

(24-5, SS-Div. V-A) Wildcats will have star power in lineup (Darrius Darius Morris, Anthony Stover) and in stands (Denzel Washington).

12 RANCHO VERDE

(23-7, SS-Div. I-AA) Guard Michael Snaer makes heretofore dot-on-the-map Moreno Valley a destination point.

13 DIAMOND RANCH

(18-11, SS-Div. III-A)Have hold on Miramonte League MVPs (Chris Cunningham, 2007; Garrett Johnson, '08) like Dodgers once did on rookies.

14 HARVARD-WESTLAKE

(21-8, SS-Div. III-A) Could Leonardo DiCaprio come in as an assistant coach to mentor stars Damiene Cain, Erik Swoope and Austin Kelly?

15 BISHOP MONT.

(26-7, SS-Div. IV-AA) Knights' armor should be tougher to pierce than it was during season-ending 28-point loss to Santa Margarita.

16 SANTA MONICA

(20-8, SS-Div. I-A) Glasses-wearing Kunnu Shofu sure looks good going to the basket.

17 SERRA

(23-5, SS-Div. IV-AA) Returning All-Del Rey League selections Kevin Johnson, Leon Gibson and Steven Hester are poised for broader recognition.

18 GOLDEN VALLEY

(12-15, SS-Div. III-A) As a (Trevor) Wiseman once said: Be careful because Grizzlies bite.

19 SIMI VALLEY

(25-2, SS-Div. II-A) There's plenty of upside for star big man Jonathan Davis, who is no longer injured or a member of JV team.

20 SANTA MARGARITA

(26-5, SS-Div. III-AA Coach Jerry DeBusk must have gotten tips from Mater Dei counterpart Gary McKnight on how to avoid a rebuilding year.

21 OCEAN VIEW

(20-7, SS-Div. IV-AA) Coach Jim Harris will either get the nine wins he needs for 600 in his career or retire in embarrassment.

22 PERRIS

(25-7, SS-Div. I-A) Imagine surprise of orthographically challenged opponents who think they're getting a trip abroad and end up in Inland Empire.

23 CORONA CENTENNIAL

(27-5, SS-Div. II-AA) No chance for slumping with sophomores Gelaun Wheelwright, Michael Caffey and Dominique Dunning rated among best in class.

24 LOS ALAMITOS

(20-9, SS-Div. I-AA) Two-sport standouts Clark Evans and Paul Richardson hope to lead Griffins to more satisfactory finish on hardwood than on gridiron.

25 ORANGE LUTHERAN

(14-13, SS-Div. IV-A) Won't have to worry about finishing around .500 with standout freshman Gabe York leading a talented backcourt.

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