Centers LeRon Ellis of Mater Dei High School and Adam Keefe of Woodbridge, who have led their teams to the finals of the state basketball tournament, head the list of selections for the 13th edition of The Times' All-County basketball team.
The selections include five seniors who have signed with Division I colleges--Ricky Butler of Ocean View (Kansas), Mark Georgeson of Marina (Arizona), Mike Herring of Irvine (Brigham Young), Richard Lucas of Katella (Oregon) and Ellis (Kentucky).
Two other senior choices--Rog Middleton of Tustin and Markus Muller-Stach of Corona del Mar--are undecided about their future. Middleton is being recruited by Oregon, UC Irvine, Utah State and San Diego State. Muller-Stach has not received an offer by a major college, according to his coach, Paul Orris.
Rounding out the all-star group are two juniors, El Toro point guard Bret Johnson and Santa Ana center Bobby Joyce.
The players, along with their parents and coaches, will be the guests of The Times at an awards brunch at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.
The county's player of the year and coach of the year will be announced at the awards presentation.
The selections were based on ballots from the county's high school coaches. The players were chosen on the basis of their ability, regardless of their class or position.
Ellis averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds in regional playoff victories against Fresno Edison and Fairfax to lead the Monarchs to their first Division I title game appearance against Concord Ygnacio Valley on Saturday in Oakland.
"I've run out of great things to say about LeRon," said Gary McKnight, Mater Dei coach. "He's certainly the reason we have made it to the finals. Whenever we needed a big play, LeRon came through."
Ellis, a 6-foot 11-inch senior, an All-County choice last season and son of former Laker center LeRoy Ellis, is considered to be one of the top players in the state.
Keefe, a 6-8 junior, has been a model of consistency throughout the postseason tournament. The Warriors have won 17 straight games going into Saturday's Division II final against Richmond De Anza, and Keefe has played a key role during the streak.
He averaged 22.2 points and 12.8 rebounds and shot 57% during the regular season, then improved upon those figures in every playoff game except the Southern California regional final against Saugus.
Other players who received a sizable share of votes included Vince Bryan (Woodbridge), Dennis Burbank (Valencia), Lasse Glassen (University), Steve Guild (Marina), Mike Henderson (Edison), Jeff Herdman (Mission Viejo), Gary Hunter (Buena Park), Mark Lyon (Magnolia), Scott McCullough (Capistrano Valley), Kyle Mooney (Estancia), Randy Morales (Rancho Alamitos), Eric Olin (University), Craig Paquette (Rancho Alamitos), Kevin Rembert (Mater Dei), Joe Small (Bolsa Grande), Jeff Stewart (Santa Ana), Chris Tower (Westminster) and Mo Warner (Los Alamitos).
Mater Dei - Senior
6-11 - Center
Ellis arrived at Mater Dei two years ago from Parkrose High in Oregon with the reputation as an excellent defensive player, but his offensive skills were questionable. Today, he is considered by most to be the best player in the state. The son of former Laker center LeRoy Ellis will attend
the University of Kentucky in the fall. He averaged 22.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and shot 54% from the field to lead the Monarchs to their first appearance in the State championship game. "LeRon is one of the greatest athletes at his size that you'll ever see," said Gary McKnight, Mater Dei coach. Ellis was also a member of the Monarchs' water polo team.
Tustin - Senior
6-5 - Forward
Middleton shot an exceptional 70% from the field, averaging 22.3 points per game. He established a school single-game scoring record with 45 points against Los Alamitos in the Laguna Beach tournament. Middleton has narrowed his college choices to Oregon, UC Irvine, Utah State and
San Diego State. "Rog sure made life easy for me the last two years," said Tim O'Brien, Tustin coach. "He's an exceptional athlete . . . big, strong and very aggressive. He was the first one to practice and the last one to leave every day." O'Brien described Middleton as a basketball junkie, saying the senior watches every game ESPN televises.
Woodbridge - Junior
6-8 - Center
Keefe has averaged 22.9 points and 16.4 rebounds in seven playoff games, leading Woodbridge to the State's Division II championship game on Saturday against Richmond De Anza in Oakland. "He was the most dominant player we faced all season without question," said Banning
Coach Stan Smith following his team's 68-60 overtime loss to Woodbridge in the Southern Section's 2-A championship game. "He's an exceptionally coordinated and agile young man," said Bill Shannon, Woodbridge coach. "He's also a great student of the game. He adapts to anything we do in practice and adjusts to any game situation."
Santa Ana - Junior
6-7 - Center
Joyce was the county's leading rebounder with a 15.2 per game average. He also averaged 19.3 points and shot 49% from the field, despite missing 10 games. He shared the Century League's most valuable player award with teammate Jeff Stewart. "Bobby's rebounding
improved tremendously," said Greg Coombs, Santa Ana coach. "He dominated on both ends of the court. I think his ability to run the court and finish the fast break is another one of his strengths." Joyce has an uncanny first step and can move quickly to his left or right from the low-post position. Said Coombs: "Bobby has unlimited potential."
Corona del Mar - Senior
6-4 - Forward
Muller-Stach averaged 21 points per game, earning all-tournament honors in the Laguna Beach, Irvine World News and Estancia tournaments. He shared the Sea View League's most valuable award with Rog Middleton of Tustin. Muller-Stach has steadily improved during his career. He saw
limited playing time as a sophomore after breaking his ankle and then played behind All-County guard Jeff Fryer last season. "Markus' biggest attribute was the time and work he put in to become a better player," said Paul Orris, Corona del Mar coach. "He wasn't flashy, but he always seemed to get the job done."
Ocean View - Senior
6-6 - Forward
Butler joins former Ocean View star Wayne Carlander as the only three-time selection to The Times' All-County team. He averaged 15 points, 12.8 rebounds and shot 55% from the field. "We've been through it all together," said Jim Harris, Ocean View coach. "He showed great
integrity to play the game under the adversity he went through." Butler and teammate Desi Hazely left their hometown of Lynwood to play at Ocean View and became embroiled in a court case against the Southern Section. Ocean View was stripped of its runner-up trophy and forfeited its 1985 games.
Marina - Senior
6-10 - Center
Georgeson was awkward and prone to foul trouble as a sophomore but rapidly improved and has signed with the University of Arizona. "Mark went from a big nobody to an excellent college prospect," said Steve Popovich, Marina coach. "I've never had a player who improved so much
from his sophomore to senior season." Georgeson averaged 17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and shot 57% from the field to lead the Vikings to the Sunset League title. "He's just begun to scratch the surface of his potential," Popovich said. "All he needs to do is improve his upper body strength and stamina to become a good college power forward."
Irvine - Senior
6-5 - Guard
Herring rewrote the record books at Irvine during his three-year career. He holds the school's career scoring, rebounding, assist and free-throw percentage records. Herring averaged 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season and scored 1,155 points in three seasons. He will attend
BYU. "Sometimes, Mike tried to do everything, and he would burn out," said Al Herring, Irvine coach and Mike's father. "Sometimes, I think it might have been better for him to be at another school. He came to Irvine to help us win, and he could have done very well at Mission Viejo." Herring lives in Mission Viejo, but decided to play for his father.
El Toro - Junior
6-1 - Guard
Johnson becomes only the fourth player to be selected to The Times' all-county football and basketball teams in the same season, joining Rick DiBernardo, Steve Beuerlein and Nathan Call as two-sport stars. Johnson was the county's premier quarterback last fall and was equally
adept at point guard, averaging 17.9 points and 7.1 assists. He helped lead the Chargers to the first league championship in school history. "I've never coached a kid who is more of a winner than Bret," said Tim Travers, El Toro coach. "His leadership, passing, ballhandling and big plays with the game on the line were a big boost to the team."
Katella - Senior
6-7 - Forward
A three-year starter, Lucas averaged 16.8 points and 13.8 rebounds for the Knights. He broke his leg and missed most of his sophomore season, but played an instrumental role on two league championship teams. Lucas was named the most valuable player in the Laguna Beach tournament and
was the Empire League's MVP as a senior. "Richard was the cornerstone of our program this year," said Tom Danley, Katella coach. "The players around him played beyond their capabilities with his presence in the lineup. I would rate Richard as the second-best rebounder I've had at Katella behind Dan Wright." Lucas will attend Oregon.