SAN MARCOS This is Preston’s fourth year as a varsity starter. And he and his San Marcos teammates have an eye on an Avocado East League title and a San Diego Section championship.
He averaged 14.8 points a game with 44 3-pointers, last season but it was a struggle for the 6-foot-3 guard after his father passed away in the spring.
Rob Preston was a standout quarterback at Vista High, leading the Panthers to a San Diego Section 3A championship in 1973. He went on to play at USC, but passed away last spring after battling brain cancer.
“His father’s passing was tough on Cole,” said San Marcos coach Dante Carey. “But he’s a tough kid. He fought through the pain, and I think he’s poised for a great season.”
Question: You’re a 6-3 point guard. Does your height help or hurt you?
Answer: It definitely helps, especially in high school. I can find my teammates easier when I’m passing over shorter guards.
Q: Do you think you’ll grow more?
A: I hope so. I was 5-7 as a freshman, so I had to develop little-man’s skills. My dad was 6-4, so I think I still have some growing to do.
Q: You’re a four-year starter. When you got to high school did you think you could start as a freshman?
A: I went to high school games as an eighth grader, and would sit in the stands and wonder. But I really didn’t know then how awesome playing varsity basketball was. It’s 100 times better than I thought, so I’m so glad I was good enough to make it as a freshman.
Q: Coach says you’re a complete player. What part of the game do you feel is your best?
A: Scoring was the first thing to come. I know I can score.
Q: What do you need to work on?
A: As you go, you learn defense gets you playing time. Defense is a team thing. So I need to work on getting better defensively.
Q: When did you feel your game developing to the varsity level?
A: I’ve gotten better in some part of the game each year. My freshman-through-junior years went by so fast. Finally, the game is starting to slow down a little.
Q: How much time do you spend developing your skills?
A: Outside of practice, I spend a lot of time dribbling, lifting weights. We go at it hard in practice, so I hit the hot tub and ice all the time. I feel I can’t take a day off because our opponents are working hard. But you also have to know your limits.
Q: The Knights have almost everyone back from last year’s 20-win team. How exciting is that?
A: This team has the potential to be the best in San Marcos history. We don’t just want to go to the playoffs, we want to win a championship. I really think this is our year.
Q: Is the team really that good?
A: I think so. And our league with Mission Hills and Escondido is tough. That should make us better. Those teams are going to make us work for it.
Q: You guys get up and down the floor. Is it fun to play in a fast-paced offense?
A: Oh yeah. It’s so much fun to run. We get out in transition and go. It’s a blast.
Q: Do you watch a lot of basketball on TV?
A: I watch all the time. And I take notes. I’ll rewind plays to see how a player made a pass or got open for a shot. Then I’ll go to the gym and practice it.
Q: I imagine you want to play at the next level. Are you talking to colleges yet?
A: I think about college every night. I want badly to play in college, and I’m starting to talk to colleges.
Q: Any college in particular showing interest?
A: BYU-Hawaii has talked to me. As you get around, play in tournaments, word gets out. If you’re good, a school will find you. Life is about connections and timing. The same is true in basketball. A lot depends on who sees you and how you play on a day there is a college recruiter in the stands.
Q: Do you have plans beyond college?
A: Like every other kid, my dream is to play pro ball. I’ll play anywhere. I want to travel, so if I get a chance to play
overseas, I’ll jump at the chance.
School: San Marcos.
Born: Aug. 28, 1995 in Escondido.
Favorite gym: Old San Marcos High.
Least favorite gym: Fallbrook, only because it’s so far away.
Favorite shot: A floater.
Favorite basketball movie: “Space Jam.” Seen it countless times.
Talent I’d like to have: Be able to play lockdown defense.
Dream date: Jessica Alba.
Favorite food: Pizza.
Favorite restaurant: Red Robin.
Favorite city you’ve visited: Tokyo. My brother lived there, and visiting him has me excited about traveling.
Favorite athlete: Derrick Rose.
Favorite college team: Kansas.
Favorite NBA team: Clippers."