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Boys basketball season storylines

12/04/2013, 8:20pm PST
By John Maffei, Craig Malveaux

El Camino welcomes transfer; new coach at Hoover; tough encore for El Cajon Valley.

TJ Leaf is part of a big front line for Foothills Christian. Charlie Neuman U-T

Can Wildcats wait?

El Camino returns four starters from a 26-win team. And sophomore Sean Birk, the MVP on the junior varsity team, will see major minutes. But the Wildcats figure to get a major boost in January when guard Devin Watson, a transfer from Army-Navy, becomes eligible. Of course, he must play defense for this team, and he won’t have the freedom to shoot with abandon.

Small schools

Calvin Christian doesn’t get a lot of headlines, but the Crusaders were 19-9 last season and return all five starters, including PG Joey LaGrua, who averaged 16 points a game. The team isn’t big but has four players who check in at 6-4.

Saints’ new look

How will defending Division III state champion St. Augustine fare? Aztecs commitment Trey Kell leads the team, but Drew Madsen, Brent Jones, Nate Samaniego and Brynton Lemar all graduated, leaving question marks in the starting lineup and on the bench.

Hoover still strong

With the eligibility of fifth-year senior Damonte Holiday settled, the Cardinals have vaulted themselves into the conversation to be among the region’s elite teams. But can they overcome the loss of Ollie Goulston, the San Diego Section’s winningest basketball coach over the last decade? Longtime assistant Roosevelt Johnson takes over.

Lonesome senior

La Costa Canyon is the No. 1-ranked team in the preseason, and the Mavericks have only one senior — Fritz Eibel. He has been on the varsity since he was a freshman, and has played in three section championship games and on a state runner-up team.

College relationship

Ramona has developed a relationship with St. Katherine College. Located in Encinitas, the college plays its basketball games in Ramona.

Big up front

TJ Leaf, at 6-9, and 6-8 Dane Norman give Foothills Christian the biggest front line in the county.

Keep it going

El Cajon Valley was 19-7 last season and won the school’s first league title in 57 years. Five lettermen return from that team, and there is some help coming from transfers. But can the Braves equal last year’s success?

Tar Heel State transfer

Westview point guard Marcus Graves is a transfer from North Carolina, where he was a very solid player. His father, Fred, is the receivers coach for the Chargers.

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